Palo Alto Networks vs Akamai


Akamai raised $600M in a private offering, and now has $1B of cash on its balance sheet. Aaron Shwartz, from Jeffries & Co., estimates that Akamai’s security revenue could hit $200M in 2015, and that “Akamai set internal goals of $1B in annual revenue by 2020”. The only way Akamai can reach the $1B goal is to acquire more security companies along the way. Another analyst noted that Akamai doesn’t intend to go head-to-head with FireEye or Palo Alto Networks. I beg to differ.

Akamai’s Estimated Revenue for Security Services
  • 2013 – $50M
  • 2015 – $200M
  • 2020 – $1B
Palo Alto Networks vs Akamai

Palo Alto Networks (PAN) is the leader in the next generation firewall (NGFW) category, followed by Fortinet. The most popular feature of the Palo Alto Network PA series appliance is the App-ID. This feature enables administrators to identify the types of application the user is accessing, whether it’s Facebook, Salesforce, PirateBay, or whatever; whereas in the past, firewalls only identified ports, IP address, and protocols. Here is the list of the PAN security feature set:

Palo Alto Networks PA-Series Appliance Feature Set
  • Application Visibility
  • User Visibility
  • Anti-virus
  • IPS
  • Data Filtering
  • Malware Protection
  • URL Filtering
  • Mobile Security

Akamai currently offers some features that overlap with the PAN appliance, including URL filtering, mobile security and DDoS protection. Cisco, the owner of the open source Snort IDS/IPS, which it inherited with the acquisition of Sourcefire, has added functionality called OpenAppID. The OpenAppID is a cloud-based application detection technology.

If Akamai decides to use Snort with OpenAppID, open source AntiVirus ClamAV, and open source SpamAssissin,  and develop it into a cohesive unit, it’s going to compete head-to-head with PAN. Akamai has a big advantage over PAN, it’s massive global network to counter attacks.


Akamai is going full force into the security ecosystem, and it’s going to roll over any company that gets in its way. In the CDN industry, Akamai sues CDNs, then buys them up. It’s going to use the same aggressive behavior to reach the $5B milestone by 2020. And that means it will have to offer services that cross over into the PAN and FireEye service portfolio. Every company has a budget for IT and security; all Akamai wants to do is grab a bigger piece of the security budget pie. That’s what I call head-to-head competition.


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