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Best cybersecurity companies to watch in 2021


Cybercrime pays. If you need a conservative estimate, it's believed that just last year, it generated $1.5 trillion in revenue - 5 times more than Amazon in that same period. With those numbers, it's no surprise that cybersecurity companies are also doing very well.

These businesses sell services, hardware, and software that protects us from various digital misadventures, such as hacks, scams, and data breaches. The market is booming, but which companies are doing the best for themselves? We had a look and came up with this list of the biggest cybersecurity companies ranked by revenue from lowest to highest.

10. F-Secure

What are they known for?

F-Secure Corporation is a leading Scandinavian cybersecurity company. They are bringing a wide variety of cybersecurity tools for individuals and enterprises. Product lines range from VPN to secure router checkers. F-Secure Radar (vulnerability scanner) and F-Secure Rapid Detection & Response (network monitoring suite) are their flagship products.

History

Initially, F-Secure was a community named Data Fellows, and they had no intentions to make cybersecurity products. Their goal was education and training on cybersecurity threats. Several years later, the company altered its direction, focusing on developing cybersecurity tools. They even had a breakthrough by creating the first heuristic scanner for antivirus software. To this day, it's one of the most successful Finnish companies.

They are viciously pro-customer, having no compromises when it comes to user security. For example, in the first half of the twentieth century at the discovery of a Magic Lantern backdoor, enabling the FBI's keystroke logger, they drew the line. Their public statement was that they commit to detect all possible spyware, regardless of source.

Revenue in 2019

$254,5 million

What are they up to?

They are still taking the security first-approach and have recently launched a project Blackfin. It's a collaboration that investigates how to apply AI in cybersecurity. The project, led by their Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence, aims to develop tools capable of detecting attacker actions at multiple endpoints. The final product should perform contextual analysis of a threat and act accordingly without human interference.

9. Qualys, Inc.

What are they known for?

Although the company name might not mean much to you, Qualys is one of the first cybersecurity companies that rolled out subscription-based security. They provide cloud security and related services.

History

Founded in 1999, Qualys was one of the first companies to establish a vulnerability management market. Their first products were for corporate LAN networks. While the products were intended to monitor and patch weak network links, it evolved into broad-spectrum software for vulnerability identification.

Revenue in 2019

$321,6 million

What are they up to?

Currently, Qualys is focusing on hybrid cybersecurity solutions that combine different monitoring and response measures. Their goal is holistic endpoint security that avoids incompatibilities present when using separate third party providers. Their work for establishing unified vulnerability management platforms resulted in two product lines: VMDR (Vulnerability Management, Detection, and Response), and Multi-Vector EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response). Both are products for corporate customers.

8. Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky lab logo

What are they known for?

The company's best-known product is Kaspersky Antivirus, which was one of the most advanced on the market even on release. At that time, it was the only antivirus that could remove specific malware variants. This lead to more enterprises turning to them for antivirus protection, accelerating growth.

The services of Kaspersky Lab include internet security, password management, endpoint security, cloud security, and antivirus security. Kaspersky has a range of eponymous products for home users, with Total Security encompassing all features. The suite includes a secure browser for financial transactions on the web, a password manager, and file backup.

History

The founders of Kaspersky were colleagues at Moscow's KAMI Information Technologies Center. In 1997, Eugene Kaspersky, his wife Natalya Kaspersky, and Alexey De-Monderik left their jobs to create their own product called Kaspersky Anti-Virus.

Revenue in 2019

$685 million

What are they up to?

The enterprise has launched a spin-off division called Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT). They have made a significant contribution to cybersecurity by reporting on various cyber threats, uncovering the most recent malware interactions and vulnerabilities. In the last decade, the company became famous for discovering many government-sponsored cyberattacks, such as Flame and Stuxnet.

7. Avast

What are they known for?

Avast is one of the largest anti-malware applications providers. However, their offering includes more than that - utility tools to save space on your storage and even a VPN to secure your connections.

History

The origins of Avast date back to the student years of two students at the Research Institute for Mathematical Machines in Czechoslovakia. Eduard Kučera and Pavel Baudiš created a program to remove the then-famous Vienna virus. In 1995, the collaboration resulted in the first antivirus software for Windows 95.

Revenue in 2019

$871.1 million

What are they up to?

Avast Software s.r.o., including their subsidiaries, has one of the largest market shares when it comes to cybersecurity products. With approximately 435 million active users, they are certainly a force to be reckoned with. It helps that in 2016, Avast bought AVG, merging the two product lines and expanding the accessibility of their products within a freemium model. This also has become a two-edged sword for them - the number of reports about their services collecting and selling user data has been growing. This year, an investigation into them was launched by the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection.

6. Proofpoint, Inc.

What are they known for?

Proofpoint is primarily a business-oriented company, which explains why you've probably heard so little about them. They are a leading B2B cybersecurity company, known first and foremost for products built to mitigate cyberattacks aimed at humans, including various social engineering schemes like phishing.

History

Ex-Netscape chief technology officer Eric Hahn founded the company in 2002. Their first product was Proofpoint Protection Server, a service that used machine learning algorithms to identify spam emails and blacklist them.

Revenue in 2019

$888.2 million

What are they up to?

This year Proofpoint's flagship products, Cloud App Security Broker and Advanced Email protection, were awarded for being the best in their respective categories in 2020 SC Media Awards Europe. It shows that the industry's leading experts highly regard their cybersecurity products. The organization is also contributing to other fronts. For example, they are continually giving attack index scores sharing knowledge about the severity of possible attacks. They are also contributing to donations in response to the US's recent developments by making financial organizations that fight systemic discrimination.

5. Trend Micro

Trend Micro logo

What are they known for?

Trend Micro is a Japanese-American company offering enterprise cybersecurity services. They have ready-made solutions for servers, cloud computing, and network endpoints. If you're using the Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platforms, your data is safe because of their work.

History

The company was founded in the late '80s by the Star of Asia, Steve Chang, with his wife Jenny, and her sister Eva Chen. They developed LANDesk Virus Protect, selling it under the Intel brand and paying them royalties. It was one of the leading network infrastructure security management tools at that time.

Revenue in 2019

$1.5 billion

What are they up to?

Trend Micro have continued their network security measures, creating the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network. It acts as a security suite that blocks phishing attacks, scam emails, and other online threats before they even end up in your mailbox. The suite expanded over time, adding AI learning tools that identify irregular patterns and highlight potential vulnerabilities, blocking them in their tracks. The company's contributions don't stop at the developed products. They also run a malware forensic analytics lab called TrendLabs. It acts as their research & development center, sharing insights on how to mitigate online risks better and track the most recent developments.

4. Check Point

Check Point logo

What are they known for?

Check Point is a multinational Israeli company, offering products both for individual customers and enterprises. Check Point has more than 100,000 corporate customers and several Gertner reports asses them highly. This company has a wide selection of network, cloud, mobile, endpoint security, and security management products.

History

The company was established in 1993 by Gil Shwed in Israel. Shortly afterward, they unveiled their product, the industry-first stateful firewall FireWall-1. It used dynamic packet filtering to identify network threats as they were happening. Soon after, they developed the world's first VPN software for individuals.

Revenue in 2019

$1.995 billion

What are they up to?

Lately, Check Point has been working on what they call the "fifth-gen of cybersecurity." Their upcoming cybersecurity products will focus on applications that combine unified and centralized management to stop cyber threats before they cause harm. The future pathway, it seems, is all about real-time monitoring and mitigation, with a strong emphasis on cloud and mobile network safety. In short, Check Point is trying to innovate new ways to navigate the current landscape of modern cyber threats.

3. Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks logo

What are they known for?

Palo Alto Networks is one of the leading firewall and cloud-based computing developers. They developed a next-gen firewall that uses machine learning with other device filtering functions called PAN-OS.

History

Although it's now a multinational company, it was founded by Nir Zuk, an engineer at the #4 company on our list, Check Point. The fun fact is that he was one of the original developers of FireWall-1 - the same that was their breakout product. Zuk then left the company to create security solutions that would be easier and better applied in the modern enterprise landscape.

Revenue in 2019

$2 billion

What are they up to?

Palo Alto Networks are developing a broad range products so that you would rely on them every step of the way for your cybersecurity needs. Their focus, first and foremost, is network protection, but this extends to other weak points as well.

The company has also established Unit 42 as its cyberthreats intelligence team. They're actively gathering and analyzing threats encountered via their cybersecurity products. That's why sometimes such products ask you for permission to submit your data. It helps them to create countermeasures against the most recent malware and other attack types. For example, this unit significantly contributed when uncovering the Mirai Botnet, used in one of the biggest  DDoS attacks.

2. McAfee

McAfee logo

What are they known for?

If you bought a consumer-grade Windows notebook in the last ten years, there is a chance that it came pre-installed with McAfee Antivirus. Although such moves give them a bad rep, they're also working on simple security tools and are continually making improvements to them. That's no small feat.

History

McAfee was founded in the late '80s by the extravagant businessman John McAfee. Before giving his name to a whole suite of products, he paved the way for first-ever commercial antivirus software.

Revenue in 2019

$2.16 billion

What are they up to?

For starters, they claim that they're one of the largest cybersecurity companies in the world. Although it sounds a lot like boasting, they do have the numbers to back these claims up. McAfee holds a considerable market share in anti-malware products for consumers every year. Despite their struggles after the Intel acquisition, they are now an independent company, operating out of two separate divisions: consumer and enterprise. It seems like they are also favoring cloud computing and moving in the same direction as most other cybersecurity companies. With various acquisitions under their belt, it appears that the only way for them is up.

1. NortonLifeLock

What are they known for?

Don't let the name confuse you. This is the same Symantec that you know. Therefore, they are still offering security products under the Norton brand - notably Norton AntiVirus. The company's products cover both desktop and mobile and perform well on a variety of independent tests.

History

Founded in the early '80s by Gary Hendrix, with a National Science Foundation grant as the starting capital, the company was called Symantec. Initially, they conducted AI projects on natural language processing. Only gradually did they move to cybersecurity products. Norton Antivirus is their most known tool.

In 2014, cybersecurity giant Symantec split into two independent companies: a security division (Symantec Enterprise division of Broadcom) and an information management division (Veritas Technologies). Broadcom then adopted the new name for its enterprise division as NortonLifeLock. 

Revenue in 2019

$2.454 billion

What are they up to?

Their core product Norton AntiVirus has transformed into Norton 360 - a security suite that provides real-time malware and identity theft protection and a password manager, a firewall, a VPN, and 2 GB cloud backup. There are also solutions to such modern vulnerabilities as the PC SafeCam tool for your online privacy. It protects your webcam so that cybercriminals cannot take pictures with it.

With its diverse portfolio, Norton is one of the market leaders. Their stock values seem to rise consistently. You might still find heaps of information on how it slows down the system, but, unquestionably, it's one of the biggest cybersecurity providers.

Notable mentions

We felt like the list wouldn't be complete without some companies that actively contribute to cybersecurity. However, due to these companies' sheer size, which is a lot broader than just cybersecurity, we felt that adding them to the regular risk would distort our ranking. So here are the ones we also would like to mention.

IBM

IBM logo

What are they known for?

A tech giant, IBM offers a plethora of products for businesses of all kinds. Cybersecurity is also among them.

History

To better illustrate the significance of this company, let's say that their origins date back to the century before the computers. Originally it consisted of financier Charles Ranlett Flint acquiring clock, scales, and tabulating machine manufacturers. Without the company, the current tech boom would be impossible.

Revenue in 2019

$77.14 billion

What are they up to?

IBM produces hardware, software, and everything in between. It doesn't seem that they're planning to stop on the innovation: they still hold a record for most registered patents for over a decade. I mean, their employees won five Nobel Prizes and six Turing Awards. That's a stat few companies can boast, especially in the IT field. Last few years, IBM collaborated with AT&T combining their cloud and IoT platforms exploring developing tool possibilities. They're also experimenting with machine learning, looking for ways how a GPU unit could make the process more efficient. There are even tools that detect bias in AI judgment. They're also offering their products like IBM X-Force, a threat intelligence that gives input on viruses, malware, spam, and the reputation of websites and URLs.

Microsoft

Microsoft logo

What are they known for?

Mostly known for Windows, Office, and Xbox, Microsoft also provides cybersecurity products and services. Vulnerabilities found in their products hurt them the most, so they have a direct stake at making sure that they deliver them more resistant to tampering.

History

In short, Bill Gates and Paul Allen developed MS-DOS and managed to pitch the software for IBM to as the operating system their PC's should run on. Needles to say, this led Microsoft to become the leading PC software vendor.

Revenue in 2019

US$143 billion

What are they up to?

Microsoft has committed to invest $ 1 billion on cybersecurity every year, and they're sticking to their word. Also, they are making strategic acquisitions of cybersecurity companies like Hexadite. Such integrations help to make their line of products secure.

They are also acting as advocates for cybersecurity issues on a global level. As an organization, they are pushing for cybersecurity alliances with the governments and policymakers. World scale cybercrime elimination their goal. Moreover, they also have a Cyber Defense Operations Center, bringing together the brightest minds of cybersecurity to ensure the most recent cybersecurity threats. It combines the active monitoring and response units, bridging the gap between the threat identification and solution.

Closing thoughts

Given that there are various metrics on how each company contributes to the cybersecurity field, take this rating with a grain of salt. Revenue is an adequate factor to measure how well a company is generating income. It does neglect smaller companies like Malwarebytes or ESET NOD32. They may do as good a job at mitigating cyber threats as big corporate names. No contribution is too small, even if it didn't appear on our list.

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