Note to readers: The article initially stated that Palo Alto Networks served 5,000 customers in India based on the account shared by the company. Palo Alto Networks subsequently clarified that it actually serves only 2,250 Indian customers. Also, the firm added close to 400 clients last year and not 1000 was originally shared with Moneycontrol. The article has been edited to reflect the changes.
US-based cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks now has 2,250 clients in India. The company is also betting big on the government sector as digital India initiatives gain pace in the country, said Anil Valluri, Regional Vice President – India and SAARC, Palo Alto Networks.
The company adds about 400 customers every year. In 2018, the company had about 1,300 clients in the country. The company's sales team employs close to 100 people, from 30 two years ago.
The US-listed company is led by Nikesh Arora, who played a key role in Softbank vision 2.0. Palo Alto Networks has a market cap of $36.57 billion, and is one of the largest players in the cybersecurity space. The other players are Fortinet, Cisco and Check Point Security.
The increased adoption of cybersecurity was driven in part by the rising instances of cyberattacks like ransomware and resulting need for both enterprises and government to protect themselves from them.
According to a survey by cybersecurity firm Sophos, close to 52 percent of the Indian business fell victim to cyberattack in 12 months since March 2020.
Valluri said, “There is sensitivity that we need to be very protective of (cyberattacks). (Over the last year) There are hackers coming from all over the place to hold ransomware attacks.” This is a looming threat that the companies are now aware of and are looking to protect themselves.
“The reality is that there are some businesses which have happened to do well during the pandemic and cybersecurity for the right reason is doing well,” Valluri pointed out.
“We are looking at expanding the market not just driven by the pandemic. I think the next three four years cybersecurity is going to be the cornerstone of a lot of initiatives,” he further added. Palo Alto Networks works with banks, digital native internet companies across the segment and more recently the company has shifted its focus to the government.
Currently banks are the largest revenue generators for the firm. However Valluri pointed out that with digital India initiatives, the government is one of the largest consumers of cybersecurity in the coming years.
Working with government
“We are making forays into (government) and realise that it's an important space to be part of the cybersecurity narrative for India and government is one of the biggest consumers of cybersecurity. We got to be there and partnering with them,” Valluri said.
According to Valluri, cybersecurity will be one of the cornerstones of digitizing India and the company will need to work hand in glove with the government to help them with mass outreach into social services such as healthcare and education.
Though the pandemic has put a barrier to working closely with them, this is a transition phase and will be a big focus area for the firm, he added.A 2019 PwC and Data Security Council of India report pegs that the Indian cybersecurity market will be $3.05 billion by 2022, growing at 15.6 percent CAGR. Indian government sectors will account for about $581 million growing at 13.8 percent, the third largest consumer of cybersecurity services after banking and financial services, and IT/ITeS services.