Palo Alto Networks CEO: Traps Endpoint Security Offering At 'Inflection' Point With Partners

The market for endpoint security is booming, particularly in the startup space, and Palo Alto Networks CEO Mark McLaughlin said he is confident the network security vendor will pull ahead of the pack with its Traps endpoint security solution.

Palo Alto Networks rolled out its Traps next-generation endpoint security solution following its $200 million acquisition of Cyvera in 2014.

Partners said they have been slow to sell the offering in the past few months but that the addition of new capabilities to Traps have them readying a renewed push.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Palo Alto Networks CEO On Security Platform Evolution And When Partners Can Expect Traps To Take Off]

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’We have been a little hesitant to get … more actively involved,’ Michael McGhee, managing director of Glen Allen, Va.-based Slait Consulting, said. However, McGhee said he anticipates new capabilities added to the offering in early August will push his business to get more involved in selling Traps. The update added static analysis via machine learning, trusted publisher identification, quarantine of malicious executables and grayware classification.

’You will see a big push in it this year. … I think you will see an adoption rate change in this fiscal year that is significant,’ McGhee said.

Gary Miglicco, senior vice president of security at Herndon, Va.-based ePlus, expressed a similar sentiment, saying he has ’held off pushing Traps to field folks,’ but now is readying a campaign to drive training and enablement in the field around the technology.

McLaughlin said Traps saw ’really great growth’ in the second half of the company’s fiscal year, which ended in July. Palo Alto Networks has hit an ’inflection point’ when it comes to Traps, predicting it will take off in the months to come.

’We hit that [inflection] point in the second half of 2016. Stand back now and watch, but we hit that point,’ McLaughlin said. In the company’s third-quarter earnings, McLaughlin said Palo Alto Networks was seeing ’strong adoption’ of Traps, citing examples of deal wins where it replaced FireEye and Symantec. In its most recent fourth-quarter earnings, announced this week, McLaughlin said Traps has more than 500 customers and is on a mid-eight-figure run rate in sales growing at triple digits. That growth is driven by improvements to the technology, as well as its tie-in to the network and Palo Alto Networks' WildFire.

’We are now a huge player in every one of those markets [that we added], and we are going to be a huge player in endpoint security because we have a unique prevention capability and it’s part of the platform. All of the next-generation endpoint security players, they have no platform,’ McLaughlin told CRN.

That rise in next-generation endpoint security startups, and more established companies like Palo Alto Networks, getting into endpoint security is driving the market up in a drastic way. MarketsandMarkets predicts the endpoint security market will grow from $11.62 billion in 2015 to $17.38 billion in 2020. McLaughlin credited a significant portion of that growth, and the move to next-gen offerings like Traps, to a host of anti-virus solutions that ’obviously don’t work’ in today’s advanced threat landscape.

McLaughlin said Traps sets itself apart in the emergence of next-generation endpoint security players with real-time exploit detection, low-positive malware detection and a growing customer base. He said the company’s competitors either are legacy anti-virus players or next-generation endpoint security startups, which he said only offer a point solution.

’There are 800 startups trying to sell me next-gen endpoint security, doing all sorts of different things, so there’s a lot of customer confusion. … But, it’s a hot space right now because [anti-virus] clearly doesn’t work and people want an answer to that. … What we did was we created the capability from having watched what everyone else was doing and learned what works and what doesn’t and, very importantly, brought the platform leverage to play,’ McLaughlin said. ’We’re very happy with what we have,’ he said.

Partners agreed that integrated capability is a big benefit as they look to sell the offering to their customers.

’The advantage I see that Palo [Alto Networks] has and the other perimeter vendors have … is it’s an add-on. It’s an integrated solution. It will just be an easier sale,’ ePlus’ Miglicco said.

McLaughlin said Palo Alto Networks is working to do ’fast evolutions of releases’ to improve the product and tie it deeper into the company’s flagship platform. He said that is a similar approach the company took to its WildFire offering, which received early skepticism but hit an ’inflection’ point to rapid growth.

’We are a huge player [with WildFire] because we improved it every release and we have the platform leverage. That’s definitely happening on Traps right now. I would say people talk, but only results matter. Let’s check in a year from today and I bet you that you won’t be hearing that anymore,’ McLaughlin said.