The Platform Matters, Not the Platformization  

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Cyber security investors, vendors and the press are abuzz with a new concept introduced by Palo Alto Networks (PANW) in their recent earnings announcement and guidance cut: Platformization. PANW rightly wants to address the “point solutions fatigue” experienced by enterprises due to the “point solution for point problem” mentality that has been prevalent in cyber security over the years. Platformization, claims PANW, is achieved by consolidating current point solutions into PANW platforms, thus reducing the complexity of dealing with multiple solutions from multiple vendors. To ease the migration, PANW offer customers to use its products for free for up to 6 months while the displaced products contracts expire. 

We couldn’t agree more with the need for point solution convergence to address customers’ challenges to sustain their disjointed networking and security infrastructure.  Cato was founded nine years ago with the mission to build a platform to converge multiple networking and security categories. Today, over 2200 enterprise customers enjoy the transformational benefits of the Cato SASE Cloud platform that created the SASE category.  

Does PANW have a SASE platform? Many legacy vendors, including PANW and most notably Cisco, have grown through M&A establishing a portfolio of capabilities and a business one-stop-shop. Integrating these acquisitions and OEMs into a cohesive and converged platform is, however, extremely difficult to do across code bases, form factors, policy engines, data lakes, and release cycles. What PANW has today is a collection of point solutions with varying degrees of integration that still require a lot of complex care and feeding from the customer. In my opinion, PANW’s approach is more “portfolio-zation” than “platformization,” but I digress. 

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The solution to the customer-point-solution-malaise lies with a true platform architected from the ground up to abstract complexity. When customers look at the Cato platform, they see a way to transform how their IT teams secure and optimize the business. Cato provides a broad set of security capabilities, governed by one global policy engine, autonomously maintained for maximum availability and scalability, peak performance, and optimal security posture and available anywhere in the world. To deliver this IT “superpower” requires a platform, not “platformization.”  

For several years, we have been offering customers ways to ease the migration from their point solutions towards a better outcome. We have displaced many point solutions in most of our customers including MPLS services, firewalls, SWG, CASB/DLP, SD-WAN, and remote access solutions across all vendors – including PANW. Customers make this strategic SASE transformation decision not primarily because we incentivize them, but because they understand the qualitative difference between the Cato SASE Platform and their current state.  

PANW can engage customers with their size and brand, not with a promise to truly change their reality. If you want to see how a true SASE platform transforms IT functionally, operationally, commercially, and even personally – take Cato for a test drive.  

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