2019: A Year of Innovation and Validation for the Cato Vision

March 3, 2020

Today we announced our 2019 business results, and those results were nothing short of stellar. We saw massive growth in our customer base, explosion of channel interest and…. planetary alignment. Yes, the stars shifted in 2019, as the industry adoption of Cato’s revolutionary approach to networking and security came in the form of Gartner’s Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture.

By the end of 2019, more than 450 enterprises worldwide were relying on Cato Cloud to connect tens of thousands of locations and mobile users quickly and securely with the datacenter, the cloud, the network edge and each other. Customers chose the Cato SASE solution, integrating SD-WAN, security, mobility and a converged backbone for maximum performance, protection and agility.

“We founded Cato five years ago on the premise that enterprise networking and security had to converge into the cloud and last year’s results are the clearest validation of that vision,” says Cato CEO Shlomo Kramer.

Here’s an overview of some of last year’s highlights.

SASE Makes Cato’s Convergence of Networking and Security into the Industry Standard

In mid-2019, the Cato vision became part of a Gartner trend. The definition of SASE crystalized much of what Cato’s been saying since its inception. We have several blogs and a Web page devoted to SASE so I won’t go into it too much here, but Gartner analysts Neil McDonald and Joe Skorupa first introduced the term SASE in a July 9 Gartner Hype Cycle for Enterprise Networking, then dug into it more deeply in a July 29, 2019 Market Trends Report, How to Win as WAN Edge and Security Converge into the Secure Access Service Edge and an August 30, 2019 Gartner report, The Future of Network Security is in the Cloud. All these reports highlight the growing enterprise IT trends — adoption of cloud-based services, global mobility and operational simplicity and agility — we’ve been touting for five years.

Gartner defines SASE as a unified cloud native service that integrates Wide Area Networking, network security functions and equal support for physical locations, cloud datacenters, branches, and mobile users. Sound familiar? Indeed, Gartner labelled Cato Networks a Sample SASE vendor. Cato is the first company to offer a fully functional global SASE platform. “Today, Cato is the industry standard for SASE,” says Shlomo.

Our Customers and Channel Partners Get It

Riding a Gartner trend has its benefits and we’ve certainly reaped them in the past year. “We’ve seen massive business growth, incredible customer traction and widespread industry endorsement of the Cato approach in the form of Gartner’s SASE framework,” says Shlomo.

Indeed, we saw customer bookings grow by a massive 220 percent, doubling across all industries, and channel-led business also double. However, sheer growth is only a small part of the story. The real validation of the Cato vision: With the choice of adopting Cato SD-WAN alone or Cato’s full SASE solution, most chose SASE. More specifically, 70 percent of our customers chose SD-WAN with built-in advanced security delivered as a single integrated cloud service.

Approximately half of our customers replaced their legacy MPLS service with Cato’s SD-WAN and converged global backbone, and Cato more than doubled the number of VPN licenses sold with SD-WAN. Most Cato customers have or will take advantage of our cloud optimization. Cato locates its PoPs in the same physical datacenters as leading cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, minimizing latency between Cato and the cloud.

Automotive industry manufacturer Komax is a great example of a company that reaped the benefits of the Cato vision by transitioning from managed appliance-based UTMs with SD-WAN to Cato. “As an IT organization, we were well familiar with the benefits of the cloud and wanted the same for our network infrastructure,” says Tobias Rölz, Komax VP of Global IT and Digital Business.

“Cato allowed us to move intelligence and computation away from the edge SD-WAN appliance into the Cato Cloud. As a result, deploying branch SD-WAN became simpler, faster, with less operational costs than we experienced with a managed service running security processing on SD-WAN appliances.” Our customers certainly get it.

Tobias Rölz, Vice President of Global IT & Digital Business at Komax

The channel gets it too. Our channel partners reaped the value of leveraging the Cato SASE solution for new customer services, enhanced profits and customer value, and strong differentiation as evidenced by a 387 percent increase in upsell opportunities to existing customers. More than 200 certified partners have joined Cato’s Global Partner Program with Accelerated ROI since its launch mid last year.

New Capabilities and Upgrades

2019 was also a year of solution enhancements. Cato added global Points of Presence (PoPs), now totaling more than 50, and more than 100 new features, notably,

Managed Threat Detection and Response (MDR), with zero-footprint detection of endpoint malware and persistent threats via advanced machine learning and human anomaly verification. Once a threat is identified, Cato experts can guide customers through the remediation process.

Instant Insight, offering advanced SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) capabilities without the usual complexity, investment and steep learning curve.

Hands-Free Management, allowing customers to offload some or all security configuration and change management to Cato or one of its partners.

Next Generation Anti-Malware, including zero-day threats, in partnership with SentinelOne.

Compliance Upgrade

Beefing up our robust information security is important to customers, who wrestle with the increasing sophistication of today’s hackers and data breaches. However, security isn’t the whole story; they also have to prove compliance with strict government and industry regulations for protecting customer and corporate data.

Cato already simplifies this challenge by proving compliance with ISO27001 and the European Union’s GDPR. This year we added compliance with another standard. The SOC 2 security standard was developed by the American Institute OF CPA’s (AICPA), defining requirements for protecting and managing customer data. Cato complies with SOC 2 audit requirements via annual audits by Ernst & Young based on AICPA’s Trust Services criteria.

The past five years have been exciting for Cato as it grew, developed and promoted its vision of converged enterprise networking and security. As a year of validation, 2019 was the most exciting yet, with growth and innovation that set the stage for even bigger things in 2020 and the years ahead.

Dave Greenfield

Dave Greenfield

Dave Greenfield is a veteran of IT industry. He’s spent more than 20 years as an award-winning journalist and independent technology consultant. Today, he serves as a secure networking evangelist for Cato Networks.