Palo Alto Networks Benefits from WannaCry Awareness

Thursday Jun 1st 2017 by Sean Michael Kerner
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Network security vendor reports 3Q17 revenue grew by 25 percent year-over-year.

Mark McLaughlin, CEO of Palo Alto Networks, likely has a different view of the recent WannaCry ransomware outbreak than those that were actually victims of the attack. For Palo Alto Networks, the event is seen a potential sales driver for the company's network security platforms.

Palo Alto Networks reported its third quarter fiscal 2017 financial earnings on May 31, showing continued revenue gains. Revenue was reported at $431.8 million for a 25 percent year-over-year gain, though Palo Alto Networks still didn't turn a profit. Net loss for the quarter was reported at $60.9 million, an improvement over the $64.1 million the company lost in the third quarter of fiscal 2016.

Looking forward, Palo Alto Networks provided fourth quarter guidance for revenue to be in the range of $481 to 491 million.

"We're able to win at very high rates in a very competitive market because of the unique capabilities of our platform," McLaughlin said during his company's earnings call with financial analysts. "As the recent WannaCry global attack illustrated, the need for integrated and automated security is growing quickly."

McLaughlin added that WannaCry certainly got a lot of public attention. He noted that it's inevitable that there be another attack of some sort, as there is always a 'next one.' In McLaughlin's view, the WannaCry ransomware attack highlighted the opportunity as well as the increasing need for a security platform.

"I think, WannaCry was looked at primarily as like an endpoint problem," McLaughlin said. "But it’s broader than that, once it gets into an organization it moves around, it had the ability to spread and platforms like ours are uniquely able to handle that stuff."

Palo Alto Networks Traps endpoint technology, for example, could have blocked WannaCry on the endpoint while the WildFire threat analysis technology would have detected the attack from the cloud and the Palo Alto Threat Prevention technology could have stopped lateral movement and the internal spreading of the infection.

"So it really helps to have multiple ways to beat these attacks, and WannaCry is a great example of a good position you would be and if you had all those capability sets," McLaughlin said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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