In alliance with Cohesity and others, Cisco is fueling near-zero latency between ransomware detection and remediation with its Extended Detection and Response platform.
Ransomware attacks exploded after COVID-19 according to several reports, and so have solutions accelerating detection. Restoring ransomed enterprise and customer data from recent backups can supply organizations a leg up on recovery while making it possible to avoid paying attackers to unlock operational data.
SEE: Ransomware attacks increased 91% in March, as threat actors find new vulnerabilities (TechRepublic)
One key to Cisco’s updated XDR platform is that when attackers hold an organization’s data for ransom, they lose leverage if the organization has recent backups that can be easily and rapidly restored. Cisco and security and data management platform Cohesity, one of several third-party alliances driving Cisco’s XDR, announced this week that the XDR platform is able to do quick “snapshots” of data for rapid backup through Cohesity DataProtect and DataHawk solutions.
The new technology is designed to minimize the time between the beginning of a ransomware outbreak and capturing a snapshot of business-critical information to near zero, according to Cisco.
Raj Chopra, SVP, chief product officer for Cisco Security, said that while the market is rife with detection capabilities — and indeed, XDR, touted for rapid, comprehensive telemetry, was a major talking point at RSA this year — there are few ways to remediate attacks with near-zero time latency. He said the new capabilities in Cisco XDR will allow security operations teams to automate the process of detection while taking “snapshots” of critical information for restoration at the very first signs of a ransomware attack before it even reaches sensitive assets.
“Because we have been instructing Cohesity to take snapshots, we have isolated infected systems, and Cohesity reconstitutes those systems to the last known good configuration,” Chopra said.
Chopra added that the capabilities include artificial intelligence processes that allow fine-tuning of snapshot timing based on historical training data, including from Cisco Talos Threat Intelligence around sensitive endpoints and user behavior.
“We have 25 years’ worth of incident playbooks in Talos. Outside of the U.S. government, we are the largest corpus of threat intel in the world around incident response, which is where a lot of nuance in the AI models for our XDR comes from,” he said.
SEE: At Cisco LIVE, new security platforms with AI under the hood (TechRepublic)
Cohesity is just one of several alliances behind Cisco’s XDR platform, noted Chopra. “One of the key things new for Cisco has to do with the fact that, with cybersecurity, we were not going to win as an island,” said Chopra, adding that the role of XDR for enhancing comprehensive detection telemetry was enhanced with third-party partnerships. “When we launched in April, we already had 13 vendors we had done pre-built integrations with. So for us, ‘extended’ also means other vendors. It means receiving telemetry from wherever vendors happen to be,” he said.
Microsoft Defender, Palo Alto Networks, CrowdStrike and SentinelOne are also aligned with Cisco XDR. “This is the start of remediation becoming more mainstream. That’s what this is about,” said Chopra.
Separately, Cisco has acquired Code BGP, a privately held company based in Greece that monitors border gateway protocols, an internet data routing protocol that finds the most efficient network route for transmissions across the web.
Cisco said the acquisition is designed to enhance the network monitoring capabilities of Cisco ThousandEyes network monitoring. Cisco also recently acquired network performance monitoring company Accedian and internet performance platform SamKnows.
Cisco and Veeam® deliver solutions to secure, back up and recover your data wherever it resides. By combining Cisco Data Center products and Veeam solutions, customers eliminate data loss and slow data recovery, helping to minimize risk, decrease downtime and easily adapt to business changes to meet the most stringent recovery objectives. See all the benefits and use cases in this updated solution brief.
The complexity of IT environments today has made datacenter modernization an urgent priority. In the event of data loss or corruption, this can cost companies a large sum of money. Proactively addressing risks through better protection costs far less money. That’s likely a big reason why when ESG interviewed Veeam® and Cisco UCS customers, they stated that the shared traits of reliability, performance and manageability of these solutions were crucial factors.
Additionally, ESG validation testing proved what IT already knows:
Veeam and Cisco UCS are better together.
Is the inevitable backlash against generative artificial intelligence at hand? Some early signals suggest the possibility, but you’d never know it from all the fundings and new products streaming out this week, as SiliconANGLE documented in a raft of stories this week.
We also covered the better-than-expected quarterly earnings from Cisco Systems Inc., which gave investors hope that a tech spending lull might be easing. Meantime, though, some cybersecurity companies are struggling as generative AI could be siphoning off information technology investments. Crypto isn’t dead yet despite the ongoing wintry conditions. And Intel Corp. dropped its bid for Tower Semiconductor after China’s regulators essentially nixed it — another in a string of bad news for the struggling chipmaking giant — even as Arm Ltd.’s IPO moves ahead.
For an insightful and entertaining take on this and other news in enterprise and emerging tech, check out this week’s theCUBE Pod, John Furrier’s and Dave Vellante’s weekly podcast. And this weekend, look for Vellante’s Breaking Analysis, his weekly deep dive on an enterprise tech trend.
I’ll kick things off this week with a look at the current state of the cybersecurity industry through the lens of one of its top leaders, Palo Alto Networks Inc., which announced earnings today.
Palo Alto held a highly unusual presentation on its earnings and a review of its strategy today — unusual in that Friday announcements are usually reserved for bad news. Not so today, since in Palo Alto’s case, the news was plenty good. (As Chief Executive Nikesh Arora apologetically explained on the call, which was kicked off with a remix of Rebecca Black’s 2011 earworm “Friday,” he wanted to leave time to talk one-on-one with analysts over the weekend before a planned company sales meeting that starts Sunday, on top of a board meeting this week.)
Anyway, the company reported its fiscal fourth-quarter profit before certain costs such as stock compensation jumped 90% from a year ago, to $482.5 million, or $1.44 a share. Net profit hit $227.7 million, or 64 cents a share. Revenue rose 26%, to $2 billion.
The outlook was positive as well. For its fiscal first quarter, the company expects adjusted earnings of $1.15 to $1.17 a share, up 40% at the midpoint, on a 16% to 18% rise in revenue, to as much as $1.85 billion. For the full year, the revenue forecast is a tick higher, between 18% and 19%, with adjusted earnings up 19% to 22%.
Investors liked the results. Palo Alto’s shares were rising more than 8% in after-hours trading. Shares were already up 80% on the year through the start of August.
“The report is better than feared,” Ivana Delevska, founder and chief investment officer of investment adviser Spear Invest, told me. “Guidance is light, but given the timing of the report many investors were expecting something much worse like an accounting restatement, or management change.”
Arora touted the “changing environment” that drove more customers toward “platformization,” meaning customers that buy multiple product lines. To that end, Arora said the company was surprised by the strength of its extended security intelligence and automation management, or XSIAM, product, with bookings of more than $200 million in its first year.
XSIAM, in its Cortex line, combines endpoint detection and response or EDR, security orchestration automation and response or SOAR, attack surface management or ASM, and security information and event management or SIEM technologies into a single solution. Many other companies offer these separately, which can be a pain point for customers that often must juggle many different cybersecurity products from different companies.
Despite the positive results, it’s no easy sledding these days, given high interest rates that are tamping down spending. “There is more scrutiny” on deals, Arora said. “There are some that get stretched or get canceled.”
During a 90-minute presentation, Arora dug into the evolution of what he says is a $213 billion cybersecurity market. There are new segments such as SASE, cloud security and internet of things security that contribute $29 billion, transforming segments such as endpoint and XDR as well as SIEM and network security at a collective $72 billion, steady segments such as identity, app security, data and email security at a total of $31 billion, and $81 billion in services.
“We were told customers don’t want platforms, they wanted best-of-breed solutions,” Arora noted. Instead, he said, Palo Alto is aiming to do both, through what the company calls a “build and buy” strategy, to become the largest pure-play cybersecurity provider. Cisco and Microsoft are larger, but of course cyber is just part of their businesses.
The upshot of all this is that Palo Alto looks to continue as a consolidator in this industry, along with a few others such as CrowdStrike Holdings Inc., Check Point Software Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. The industry does seem to be splitting between larger companies continuing to grow and roll up smaller companies and others struggling to maintain traction either because of aging technology or because IT departments are diverting more spending toward AI. Just in the past week or so, Rapid7 and Secureworks laid off workers. And Arora noted that there are 3,000 cyber startups out there — clearly unsustainable.
“We believe M&A will pick up significantly in the second half and 2024 and companies like Palo Alto that have the capital availability are in a solid position to benefit,” Delevska said. “We see ‘shift left’ as a major theme for M&A, that is, cybersecurity embedded earlier in the software development cycle.”
She also thinks there will be only a limited number of industry consolidators, in particular Palo Alto and CrowdStrike. “M&A has been hit-and-miss in cybersecurity and therefore track record is key,” she said.
Going forward, Arora sees a need for, and shift to, more real-time and autonomous security. “We will see a standard platform for security,” he vowed. “That’s the only way we’re going to get to the future we need for real-time and AI-based security.”
More cyber news below.
A well-known AI skeptic raises doubts about generative AI that are worth memorizing even if the essential critique is, as often with Gary Marcus, points to inflated expectations more than a complete lack of utility: What if Generative AI turned out to be a Dud? Also, Benedict Evans is unimpressed so far, though it’s a bit mystifying he can’t find any good use for it. Plus, gen AI has landed right at the top of Gartner’s Hype Cycle and you know what that means.
Axios talks to larger companies struggling to implement generative AI.
Some observers even think the AI startup Gold Rush is ending: A.I. startups are losing their bloom for seed investors, argues one VC
But that seems slightly early, many startups keep on coming: Former Google researchers launch startup to build nature-inspired neural networks and Elemental Cognition, led by IBM Watson’s former head, raises $60M
It’s getting competitive on the gen AI infrastructure front: Continuing AI investment is why the GPU battle, for one, keeps intensifying — and the software matters as much as the hardware, which is why Modular could raise so much money: AI software startup Modular seeks bumper Series A round to challenge Nvidia. Of course, the big guys such as Amazon are already well into this chips-and-software race: How Amazon is racing to catch Microsoft and Google in generative A.I. with custom AWS chips. Meantime, per the New York Times, the GPU shortage rages on.
And then there’s the endlessly fundraising Databricks: Databricks looking to raise ‘hundreds of millions’ in fresh funding to fuel generative AI push But Furrier notes in theCUBE Pod podcast that it’s not out of need for cash but striking while the AI iron is hot.
For better or — in the case of the Iowa school board that wants to ban books they can’t be bothered to read — for worse, harnessing chatbots for content moderation: OpenAI finds GPT-4 can Strengthen online platforms’ content moderation efforts
Even the big large language model creators are looking to provide industry-specific AI models: Anthropic raises $100M from SK Telecom to build AI for telecommunications Do they become AI superclouds? And in the same vein: Arthur launches open-source tool to help companies make data-driven decisions about LLMs
About the worry over those LLM data leaks — someone’s working on that: DynamoFL raises $15.1M to tackle language model data leaks
“Hey Google, what should I do?” Google DeepMind reportedly developing at least 21 new generative AI features Not scary at all, nope.
And the hardware suppliers see an opportunity to bundle things to make AI development easier, though it’s not clear how big a market there is for this kind of thing outside the big cloud providers: Nutanix offers quick-start approach to AI development
OpenAI makes its first acquisition: OpenAI acquires digital products company Global Illumination for undisclosed price
Amazon finds some low-hanging gen AI fruit: Amazon adds AI-powered review summaries to its e-commerce marketplace
Cybersecurity companies still cutting costs perhaps as AI steals some budget: Cybersecurity provider Secureworks to let go 15% of its workforce, on the heels of Rapid7 layoffs last week.
Strom looks at the latest CPU attacks and concludes they will be tough to fix quickly: Mitigating the latest processor attacks will be a chore on many levels
Same deal with phishing: New reports show phishing is on the rise — and getting more sophisticated
And another security issue in IoT (maybe take the stairs next time): New widespread IoT compromise could affect millions of logic controllers
Finally, here’s detailed advice on how to avoid security fatigue: How to prevent multifactor authentication fatigue attacks
Cisco earnings beat estimates and its stock rises a bit after-hours. At first a seemingly weak forecast from the industry bellwether raised doubts about tech infrastructure spending, but subsequent company comments and analysis indicate a good quarter and equally good outlook after all: In a positive sign for tech spending, Cisco’s stock rises on strong earnings and prospects for AI
More China economic war fallout: Intel scraps its $5.4B acquisition of Tower Semiconductor Vellante and Furrier think Intel’s in deep trouble, as they describe on theCUBE Pod. Tower wasn’t a game-changer in itself, but it’s hard to see how CEO Pat Gelsinger can revive Intel’s fortunes anytime soon.
Arm’s IPO to get rolling next month: SoftBank reportedly buys back 25% Arm stake from its Vision Fund unit
Crypto ain’t dead yet: Despite crypto downturn, BitGo raises $100M at $1.75B valuation and ZetaChain raises $27M. Plus Coinbase secures approval to offer crypto futures to US customers. And Crypto hardware wallet maker Ledger teams up with PayPal
That was quick: SUSE to be taken private by its majority shareholder
Eliminating the decryption tax for querying encrypted data: MongoDB unveils data encryption tech for developers to boosting data privacy and compliance
Supercomputers in the cloud: Harvard researchers clone supercomputer on Google Cloud
Sassine Ghazi to become CEO of chip design software firm Synopsys
Big changes in Europe for big tech: Doing business in Europe? Time to focus on its new Digital Services Act – now
VMware Explore runs Aug. 21-24, and SiliconANGLE and theCUBE will be covering it in Las Vegas.
Earnings from Zoom, Nvidia, Snowflake, NetApp, Splunk, Autodesk and Workday
Then the following week, Aug. 29-31, is Google Cloud Next, also to be covered onsite at Moscone Center in San Francisco by SiliconANGLE and theCUBE.
The Jaguars' depth at running back continued to standout with strong performances from Tank Bigsby and D'Ernest Johnson. Cooper Hodges, Darryl Williams and Chandler Brewer sustained injuries in Preseason Week 2, a situation to monitor as Jacksonville prepares to host the Dolphins in the final week of the preseason.
Chicago, IL – August 23, 2023 – Today, Zacks Equity Research discusses Cisco CSCO, Extreme Networks EXTR and RADCOM Ltd. RDCM.
Industry: Computer Networking
Increasing focus on cloud computing, network security, big data and cloud storage is expected to boost the performance of the Zacks Computer - Networking industry participants. Accelerated deployment of 5G is driving the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) devices and 5G smartphones, calling for solid networking infrastructure.
This spurred demand for networking products, favoring the prospects of prominent industry players like Cisco, Extreme Networks and RADCOM Ltd.. However, negative impacts stemming from the lingering supply chain disruptions and component shortages will likely be a concern in the near term. Weak global economic conditions and rising inflation are likely to act as additional headwinds.
The Zacks Computer - Networking industry comprises companies that offer networking and Internet-connected products, including wireless (WiFi and Long-Term Evolution or LTE), Ethernet and powerline, focusing on dependability and ease of use. The products are available in numerous configurations to cater to the changing requirements of consumers in each geographic territory where it operates for smooth network connectivity and broadband access.
Some industry players also provide mission-critical IoT solutions and network security services to help clients build next-generation connected products and implement and manage critical communications infrastructures in demanding environments with enhanced levels of safety. Focus on developing IoT sensors, drones and wearables amid increasing demand for cloud computing-based contact tracing applications is driving the industry
Rapid Deployment of 5G to Boost Growth Prospects: Adopting a hybrid/flexible work model has triggered demand for network-intensive applications like video conferencing and cloud services. This is anticipated to accelerate 5G deployment through 2023 and beyond. The impending 5G boom will likely propel the industry to newer heights. The success of 5G technology hinges on substantial investments to upgrade infrastructure in the core fiber backhaul network to support growth in data services.
More efforts to develop smart connected homes, hospitals, factories, buildings, cities and self-driving vehicles bode well for industry players. These firms invest heavily in LTE, broadband and fiber to provide additional capacity and Strengthen Internet and wireless networks. These initiatives hold promise.
The Uptick in Wi-Fi 6 Networking to Drive Momentum: Brisk technological advancement, dynamic products, high-speed connectivity, low latency and evolving industry standards define the Computer Networking industry. The growing clout of the latest Wi-Fi 6-compliant residential gateways, Wi-Fi routers, set-top boxes and wireless range extenders is a testament to the same. Wi-Fi 6 — the latest 802.11ax wireless standard — is estimated to offer 30% faster network speed over 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5). This is anticipated to bolster the industry participants’ top line.
Innovation in Networking Technologies is Opening New Business Avenues: Growing clout of Smart Home and Internet-connected products such as Smart TVs, game consoles, High Definition (HD) streaming players, security cameras, thermostats and smoke detectors continue to drive innovations in networking. The rapid proliferation of IoT, the increasing popularity of smart connected devices and the growing adoption of cloud computing in network security fuel the demand for an efficient network support infrastructure.
The advancements in AI and ML and the high adoption of cloud applications hold immense potential for companies in the industry. Enterprises are striving to manage fixed and wireless devices in a secured infrastructure. To address the demand, industry firms are driving innovation in networking technologies, including network virtualization and Software-Defined Networking (SDN), which favors growth prospects.
Increase in IT Spending Amid Economic Turmoil Bodes Well: Per a Gartner report, worldwide IT spending is expected to increase 4.3% in 2023 from 2022 levels and reach around $4.7 trillion. The report added that despite macroeconomic headwinds, enterprises are increasing spending on digital business initiatives, which bodes well for industry participants.
Gartner states that the software segment is likely to witness double-digit growth in the current year. However, consumers are deferring spending on the purchase of devices, which will likely affect the IT spending growth to an extent in 2023. Gartner expects the devices segment to decline by nearly 8.6% in 2023.
The Zacks Computer - Networking Industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank of 28, positioning it in the top 11% of more than 252 Zacks industries.
The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates bright near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.
The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries results from a positive aggregate earnings outlook for the constituent companies. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, analysts are optimistic about this group’s earnings growth potential. The industry’s earnings estimate for 2023 has improved to earnings of $3.09 against a loss of $2.95 as of Jan 31, 2023.
Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, considering bright prospects, let us look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.
The Zacks Computer – Networking industry has outperformed the S&P 500 composite and the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector in the past year.
The industry is up 16% over this period compared with the broader sector’s gain of 13.9%. The S&P 500 has gained 6.9% over the same time frame.
On the basis of the forward 12-month price-to-earnings ratio (P/E), which is a common multiple for valuing Computer – Networking stocks, we see that the industry is currently trading at 15.58X compared with the S&P 500’s 19.10X. It is also below the sector’s forward-12-month P/E of 23.93X.
In the past five years, the industry has traded as high as 20.33X and as low as 12.56X, with media being at 15.64X.
Extreme Networks: Based in Morrisville, NC, Extreme Networks provides next-generation switching solutions that cater to the increasing requirements of enterprise local area networks or LAN, internet service and content providers.
Higher deployment of 5G base stations on accelerated demand for 5G networking is expected to boost growth prospects. Acquisitions like Ipanema bode well in the long haul. Earlier in the year, the company unveiled the ExtremeCloud Edge platform that covers public to private to edge cloud deployments and aids customers in lowering operating costs related to the management of many cloud platforms. The company expects new product innovations like universal hardware, end-to-end cloud management and enhanced AI to boost growth prospects.
Extreme Networks carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2024 is pegged at $1.55 per share, indicating an increase of 42.2% year over year. Shares have increased 99.6% in the past year.
RADCOM: This Tel Aviv, Israel-based company specializes in providing cloud-native, automated service assurance offerings for telecommunication operators for 5G networks.
The company recently reported its second-quarter 2023 results, with revenues totaling $12.4 million, up 11% on a year-over-year basis. The company recently unveiled a 5G assurance solution on Google Cloud. The company noted that availability on Google Cloud will extend availability of 5G assurance solutions to clients to help them streamline 5G rollouts.
RADCOM carries a Zacks Rank #1. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s 2023 earnings is pegged at 39 cents per share, up 30% in the past 60 days.
Cisco: Headquartered in San Jose, CA, Cisco provides performance management, cybersecurity and DDoS protection solutions. Cisco is riding on the growing demand for its security products. Its security portfolio benefits from the launch of new data loss prevention, firewall and zero trust capabilities. Zero Trust portfolio is riding on strong demand for its Duo offering. Optimized application experience is benefiting from strong demand for ThousandEyes.
Its investments across the security business, focusing on cloud-based and AI-driven offerings, are expected to drive growth. Expanding growth opportunities for low-power-consuming technologies, including IoT, Silicon One and Power over Ethernet, bodes well for Cisco.
Cisco carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2024 earnings is pegged at $4.04 per share. Shares have increased 16.9% in the past year.
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