Thursday, May 01, 2014

Palo Alto Networks, Check Point top Products in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls - 2014

As is probably no big surprise to those in the industry and those purchasing network security products, Palo Alto Networks (PAN) and Check Point had the top rated products in the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls.  The report came out in April.  These are the only two companies in the Leaders Quadrant, with Palo Alto Networks leading on Completeness of Vision and Check Point for Ability to Execute. Fortinet and Cisco were the closest to the in the Challengers quadrant.   The report, ID:G00258296 is available on the PAN web site for those who register.

Palo Alto Networks pretty much was the originator of the acronym NGFW or Next Generation Firewall, and PAN and Check Point Software Technologies companies compete for many of the same customers. Last year, PAN   introduced their Wildfire infrastructure, enabling the PAN firewall to detect and stop Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) This is offered to customers via the public cloud or can be deployed as a private cloud.   Gartner also wrote that PAN    was consistently on most NGFW competitive shortlists.  PANS Advanced Persistent Threat Solution   was not among those recently tested by NSS Labs in their April Breach Detection Study.   

Check Point was cited by Gartner as being the market share leader in firewall installed base. They offer an extensive line of security appliances and were also delivered the industry’s first flexible, extensible security architecture, the Check Point Software Blade Architecture.   Check Point’s Anti-Bot Software Blade detects bot-infected machines, prevents bot damages by blocking bot C&C communications. This isn’t a comprehensive Advanced Persistent Threat Solution, but it helps protect the network.

PAN’s product portfolio isn’t quite as extensive Check Point’s,   they do offer a virtualized firewall platform in addition to the more traditional appliance offering, threat subscriptions for URL filtering, and a management platform.  

Fortinet was rated a Challenger by Gartner. They stated Fortinet was “not often beating Leaders in mainstream enterprise selections based on features and vision, nor causing Leaders to react to Fortinet.”

Cisco was rated a Challenger as well.  Gartner didn’t seem them displacing   PAN nor Check Point on the basis of visions or features.  They saw Cisco winning firewall business through channel “execution and “aggressive discounting”.

Juniper Networks completed the trio of companies in the Challenger quadrant.  McAfee was a leader in the Niche quadrant.

Offerings from F5, Arkoon-Netasq, and AhnLab were the furthest down and to the left in the Magic Quadrant.

Check out the complete report.  For an assessment of all sixteen vendors in the report. Some names you’re familiar with may be missing due to consolidation. Gartner also has some brief information on why virtualized firewall penetration is a less than two percent.  “Security-minded enterprises are also rightly skeptical of running firewalls within a hypervisor that is between the threat and the firewall,” according to Gartner. 

 Regarding the Leaders quadrant from the Gartner Magic Quadrant Endpoint report - “A leading vendor isn't a default choice for every buyer, and clients should not assume that they must buy only from vendors in the Leaders quadrant.  Some clients believe that Leaders are spreading their efforts too thinly and aren't pursuing clients' special needs.”

For more details on the Magic Quadrant and how it is created, read “Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes: How Gartner Evaluates Vendors within a Market”.     Sometimes a leader is not the best solution for a particular customer.  Despite that, you will see many   presentations where the vendor uses being in the Leaders quadrant   as a reason to buy from that particular vendor.  Who would have thought that they would do that?

Some of NSS Labs reports are available at no charge.

craig kensek