2014 CDN Game Changers: Incapsula vs Akamai: Part 3

Incapsula, the CDN that’s now part of Imperva, introduced a new CDN business model that’s going to change the CDN ecosystem. The CDN industry is very feature driven, as soon as one CDN develops a new feature, all other CDNs follow.  DSA, FEO and WAF, were at one time unique, now everyone offers them. However, Incapsula changes the game, by introducing a security feature set that is deep, extensive, and requires a different skill set to build. In one fell swoop, Incapsula has leap frogged the CDN competition, including CloudFlare, and excluding Akamai, when it comes to extensive DDoS protection.

The CDNs have a challenge in front of them. Do they take on the challenge, and start developing a comprehensive security portfolio that competes against Incapsula. Or do the CDNs go about their daily business. With Imperva at the helm of Incapsula, we can bet it’s only a matter of time before they roll out additional security features that cross the boundaries of the different security tiers.

Akamai’s Challenge

This poses a very interesting challenge to Akamai. Akamai is the dominant leader in Edge Security, where it is 1 Hop away from 90% of the world’s end users. Theoretically, Akamai can stop the DDoS attack one hop away from the attack. However, Akamai stops at the edge, and doesn’t go deeper into the security spectrum, and offer protection against APT, malware, database, and so on.

Imperva’s Head Start

Imperva, the leader in data center security, provides an extensive security set for protecting the database, file system and web application. Incapsula provides Imperva with a strong Edge Security offering and capability. Together, both offer security from the data center to the edge. No other CDN has this capability.

It’s interesting that a pure-play security company, an outsider, came out of nowhere, and challenged the traditional CDN business model, in such as a way that very few have. In fact, there’s only one more CDN disruptor like Incapsula, and that is Aryaka Networks. In a sense, Akamai is behind Imperva in security. Let’s see how Akamai responds to the threat Imperva poses. Will Akamai acquire a cloud-based security company, that deepens the security offering and challenges Imperva? Absolutely. I think we’ll see an Akamai acquisition in the next three months. My guess is they acquire a cloud-based security company that protects against APT, malware and zero-day attacks.