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How cybersecurity companies adapted through the years

The origins and developments of leading cybersecurity companies McAfee and Palo Alto Networks.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/mattchengg/" target="_self">Matthew Cheng</a>

Matthew Cheng

June 30, 2022
Cybersecurity generates more attention than ever before due to the coronavirus with more users constantly surfing the web, which invites hackers to infiltrate individuals’ or organizations’ private information. As these digital assaults popularize, it raises concerns for many companies, making cybersecurity a desirable sector to enter.

Compared to 2020, GlobeNewswire statistically analyzes that the cybersecurity market is expected to jump from $153.6 billion to $165.78 billion by 2021. Over the past few years, two companies, in particular, stood out in detecting and managing threats: McAfee and Palo Alto Networks. Their excellent malware detection, strong network and cloud protection, and effective marketing led these two companies to be at the top of the pyramid.

In 1987, McAfee was founded (originally called McAfee associations) by John McAfee, making him one of the forefathers of cybersecurity. 

Although McAfee started the first cybersecurity company, he quickly exited the industry. Since McAfee was known for being “brash” and “reckless,” investors motivated the company to throw him out of the bus. The split ended civilly as John agreed to sell all of his shares and not be associated with the company. 

Roughly 20 years later, Intel acquired the company for $7.68 billion in 2010. This decision proved to be disastrous as McAfee was no longer known as a “software” company; it had combined with a hardware company that produced chips and ruined the branding of McAfee. Luckily, Symantec, their primary competition at the time, was also facing internal issues. As a result, none of the companies were able to acquire a monopoly over the cybersecurity industry. 

In  2017, McAfee re-emerged as a company designated solely to cybersecurity, independent of Intel. The new CEO, Chris Young, renovated the entire enterprise. With an outdated business line, the company transitioned to where most businesses and individuals were based: the cloud.

To start, McAfee released its MVISION portfolio in 2019. This plan intended to protect software, networks, the cloud and endpoint devices. McAfee continues to improve its antivirus software and threat analysis, and it invests in artificial intelligence technologies to comfortably pace itself with the growing cyber-attacks. After decades of failing, McAfee is finally regaining the strength to rebuild and attract customers through its newly integrated products. 

Unlike McAfee, Palo Alto Networks is a new cybersecurity company that was founded by Nir Zuk in the year 2005. Being adept in computer programming since his teens, Zuk was intrigued by computer viruses and even became one of the earliest virus programmers, according to YourTechStory.

In 1997, Zuk immigrated to the U.S. from Israel and worked with CheckPoint, a software company at the time. Wanting to be the head of his own company, Zuk left two years later and coded the foundations of what would soon be a big part of his company: a firewall. It was from this moment that Zuk began to lead Palo Alto Networks to become one of the most popular cybersecurity firms in the nation. 

Like all cybersecurity companies, Palo Alto Networks provides network security, cloud security and other forms of data protection, but Anitian emphasizes that the company has been able to stand out due to its extremely efficient and modern firewall systems. As a result, the company markets itself as the only cybersecurity corporation to have firewalls that use machine learning to predict and prevent malware attacks.

The company’s new virtualized firewalls have also collaborated with more public cloud services (Oracle Cloud, Alibaba Cloud and Nutanix) in order to broaden their cloud and data centers. The list of new features goes on and on, but the main takeaway is that Palo Alto Networks’ services are constantly evolving and changing based on their customer feedback, according to YourTechStory. Throughout the previous decade, these minute differences pushed Palo Alto Networks past its competitors. 

As McAfee and Palo Alto Networks continue to pioneer this new field, they are also setting new standards for other cybersecurity firms to follow. They are constantly trying to innovate new products to adapt to the growing cyberattacks and to suppress the dangers found online. These products are always centered around their customers’ needs.

Cybersecurity companies understand that they succeed by satisfying their customers. Consequently, companies like McAfee and Palo Alto Networks have proved that responding quickly and effectively to their clients is what will allow them to achieve their ultimate goal: Protecting the digital world. 

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