Palo Alto Networks Execs: The Security Market Is Ripe For Disruption

In a market defined by disruption, Palo Alto Networks executives said the security market is ready for yet another shakeup.

"The vendor landscape is going to be totally different than what you use here today," said Palo Alto Networks co-founder and CTO Nir Zuk. "We're getting to a point where it's just becoming very, very clear that we cannot keep going or keep going the current route we're on in terms of investment in the industry."

The signs that the market is ready for disruption are there, Zuk said in a keynote at Ignite 2017 in Vancouver, Canada, this week. Zuk pointed to astronomical spending on security R&D and venture capital for a marginal impact to security effectiveness, increasing challenges in consuming security technology, high data demands for effective machine learning, and requirements for frequent updates as reasons the market is ready for disruption.

[Related: 5 Hot Happenings From Palo Alto Networks Ignite 2017]

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Palo Alto Networks is looking to create that disruption, just as it did with the next-generation firewall market, said Zuk. The company is looking to disrupt the way cybersecurity is consumed, with deployment of a single agent on each endpoint, network and service for a Software-as-a-Service application, then layered with independent security services connected to the platform leveraging a single data set and threat intelligence. To build this, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company launched an Application Framework, allowing third-party developers to build on its platform, as well as new cloud-based services.

"Cybersecurity has to become a set of services that you consume, rather than a set of technologies that you deploy on-premise," Zuk said. "This is the disruption. … We're going to completely change the way you consume cybersecurity."

Palo Alto Networks President Mark Anderson said this shift is required as companies continue to lose the battle against attackers with an inefficient and ineffective security model. Vendors need to adopt a new consumption model to address this and make new security products easier to consume as services on top of a platform, he said.

"All of this innovation has to be able to be consumed. This is what's fundamentally wrong," Anderson said. "We have to make it easier to consume the innovation that our industry is cranking out."

Partners said they also see the need for a security market disruption. Andy Segal, president of Albertson, N.Y.-based Vandis, said customers are maturing. They are looking for deeper analytics and faster response times to combat an increasingly more sophisticated adversary, he said.

"I think that the market is evolving and maturing. You can't stay exactly where you are. You have to evolve and mature with the market," Segal said.

"It's really serious stuff. Everybody has to up their game The manufacturers, the producers of technology have to up their game. We [as partners] have to up our game. And clients have to up their game. It’s a serious and complicated business," said Vandis' Segal. "This threat evolution is not stopping."

Chris Stolley, vice president of sales at Denver-based Optiv Security, said customers are looking for increased automation and orchestration capabilities from a security platform. They also are looking to consolidate the number of security technologies they use for better efficiency, he said. Palo Alto Networks' proposed vision for "disruptive technologies" could help meet those demands from customers.

Segal said technologies like the Application Framework will "vastly increase the scope of your vision and accelerate your ability to react to what's going on in the marketplace" as it brings together information and technology from multiple vendors. He said Vandis will "absolutely take advantage of that" for its customers.

"That is one of the areas where Palo alto Networks has been very adept: understanding where the market is and evolving their position and the products so they address the needs of the market," Segal said.