Palo Alto Networks CEO Challenges the Status Quo

The world is a dangerous place, and Mark McLaughlin is trying to keep his clients safe.

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A Philadelphia native, the 55-year-old McLaughlin serves as both Chief Executive and Chairman of the Board of technology security firm Palo Alto Networks since August 2016.

McLaughlin remains vigilant in the face of recent bugs like Spectre and Meltdown and acknowledges openly that most in his industry are doing the same.

The way McLaughlin sees it, hackers are quicker to pounce on vulnerabilities as the cost of technology goes down at an increasing rate. In his opinion, the two ways to best combat the increasing threat are automation and software that’s specifically designed for defense.

The market agrees with these assumptions, and McLaughlin has the numbers to prove it. Palo Alto Networks posted a 28% increase in profits in the second fiscal quarter of the year, along with a healthy 74% raise in the cost of shares, topping off at $196.69.

In a somewhat unique move for an industry that prides itself on secrecy, McLaughlin’s company has opened its platform to third party developers in a strategy it calls “application framework.” This, coupled with granting customers the permission to choose the software they prefer has increased efficiency in the company and led to a marked increase in client satisfaction.

The application framework has been compared to “an app store for security” and offers network, endpoint and cloud solutions.

So far, the gamble has paid off, and Palo Alto Networks is a leader among security industry software companies as a result. The newest innovation for Palo Alto Networks harnesses machine learning to log detections in a streamlined, efficient way. The cloud-based platform logs everything in a cost-effective manner, allowing companies to easily access the data and make actionable decisions based on findings. Things are looking up for McLaughlin and Palo Alto Networks, and he knows it. As the CEO noted in a recent interview: “We’re constantly innovating because nothing stands still in security.”