As technology initiatives like cloud-based apps, social networking and virtualization have improved and dramatically increased in usage, a problem has also become more and more evident. The cybersecurity risk associated with adoption of these initiatives has grown to the point of being mission critical. A new research note from Oppenheimer points out that the huge Target stores breach represented the first time a CEO was ousted by the board for a major network breach. Don’t think for a moment that other highly placed C suite executives didn’t take note of the dismissal and want to avoid a similar fate at their respective companies.
Plain and simple, the Oppenheimer analysts feel that the toxic threat landscape coupled with increased spending should bode well for security software. They cited 12 big cyberattacks in the past two years against major companies ranging from Apple to Home Depot to UPS. There is no question there will be more to follow, and companies will be engaged to protect against them.
Here are the five cybersecurity stocks rated Outperform at Oppenheimer.
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP) remains one of the top tech stocks to buy on Wall Street for a security presence, and the Oppenheimer analysts, like many on Wall Street, think the company is one of the best in helping customers protect against advanced persistent threats (APTs). The company continues down the path of its Software Blade strategy and is arguably more candid about its installed base advantage, where it will look to continue to consolidate product features within its platform and provide customers a superior cost of ownership.
The Oppenheimer price target for the stock is $79. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is slightly lower at $77.33. The stock closed on Friday at $76.72 a share.
Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) could be one of the top stocks that investors can buy and hold for a long time. Persistent security threats have damaged the reputations of some top American companies, as we mentioned earlier, and most will do anything to protect their data and customer information. This company is helping to lead a new era in cybersecurity by protecting thousands of enterprise, government and service provider networks from threats, and they boasted a staggering 46% year-over-year billing growth. Unlike fragmented legacy products, the Palo Alto security platform safely enables business operations and delivers protection based on what matters most in today’s dynamic computing environments: applications, users and content.
Oppenheimer has a $120 price target, while the consensus is at $115.11. Shares ended Friday at $108.93.
Cyber-Ark Software Ltd. (NASDAQ: CYBR) had a recent red-hot IPO, and it crushed earnings estimates when the company released the first quarterly report after going public. Cyber-Ark claims it is the only security company focused on eliminating the most advanced cyber threats, those that use insider privileges to attack the heart of the enterprise. The company proactively secures against cyber threats before attacks can escalate and do irreparable damage. Some 35% of the Fortune 100 and 17 of the world’s top 20 banks use the software to protect high-value information assets, infrastructure and applications.
The Oppenheimer price target for this hot new stock is $40, and the consensus target is $36.40. Both should go higher soon. Cyber-Ark closed trading on Friday at $42.81.
Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT) is a name starting to pop up again around Wall Street as a potential takeover target. The company helps protect networks, users and data from continually evolving threats. As a global leader in high-performance network security, it enables businesses and governments to consolidate and integrate stand-alone technologies without suffering performance penalties. Fortinet announced last year a new high-performance, compact network firewall appliance for enterprise data centers, large service providers, cloud providers and carriers. They were also the first network security company to deliver 100 Gbps+ firewall throughput and 40 GbE ports in a compact appliance.
The Oppenheimer price target is $30, and the consensus is set at $29.59. The stock closed on Friday at $27.11.
Imperva Inc. (NYSE: IMPV) is pioneering what it calls the third pillar of enterprise security, which fills the gaps in endpoint and network security by directly protecting high-value applications and data assets in physical and virtual data centers. With an integrated security platform built specifically for modern threats, Imperva data center security provides the visibility and control needed to neutralize attack, theft and fraud from inside and outside the organization, mitigate risk and streamline compliance. Many on Wall Street feel the company remains a “show-me” story, while others feel it could be a takeover target.
The Oppenheimer price target is $40, and the consensus target is $42.33. Shares closed Friday at $41.81.
Aggressive technology investors should carve out an allocation for this fast-growing area. The threats and attacks will only increase, and companies will spend the needed dollars for safety, security and protection.
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