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Google Cloud Challenges MSFT, AMZN & IBM in Security Space

Zacks Equity Research

The battle for cloud supremacy is primarily among the “big three”, namely, Amazon’s AMZN cloud computing arm Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft’s MSFT Azure, and Alphabet’s GOOGL Google Cloud.

IBM IBM is also not far behind. But it continues to lose ground to the three dominant players.

However, while choosing a public cloud service provider, there are many factors to be considered apart from pricing. One of the major criteria to pick the best cloud service provider is security, and Google is upping its game in the space through partnerships. This is expected to boost Alphabet’s competitive position in the cloud security space.

Moreover, expanding cloud security market presents significant growth opportunities in 2020.

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Why Cloud Security Counts

Enterprises adopt the public cloud to support their digital transformation journey and reduce costs. However, a single security breach may lead loss of customer information, which is detrimental to the company's reputation.

The propagation of IoT devices has made cloud security increasingly important as well. Moreover, being highly connected, cloud environments make it easier for traffic to bypass traditional perimeter security, which eventually results in business losses.

In order to make cloud computing more secure, tech giants are coming up with new partnerships. Per Orbis Research, the global cloud security software market is expected to reach $35.6 billion by 2024 at a CAGR of 4.98% between 2019 and 2024.

Google’s Security Partnerships Ring Alarm Bells for Peers?

Google has inked a string of partnerships with leading security vendors to solidify its cloud-based security offering. Partnering vendors include Qualys QLYS, Palo Alto Networks PANW, McAfee and Fortinet FTNT.

By partnering with Palo Alto, Google Cloud will jointly develop a security framework for multi-cloud environments. Moreover, extended partnership of Google Cloud and Fortinet will offer advanced security for workloads and applications to customers migrating to Google Cloud Platform.

Further, the collaboration with Qualys will ensure one-click vulnerability assessment via seamless integration of the Qualys Cloud Agent, bringing built-in security to the Google Cloud Platform. Furthermore, McAfee’s Mvision cloud solution will add data security, threat prevention, monitoring and compliance capabilities for container workloads to the Google Cloud Platform.

By including such wide range of capabilities into its platform all at once, Google seems to have taken note of the fact that stronger security capabilities is key to gaining share in the cloud market.

For instance, Gartner analyst Sid Nag opines that Google’s efforts have led to “severe competition” for Amazon and Microsoft in the global public cloud services market, which is projected to grow from $221.6 billion in 2019 to $344.9 billion by 2022.

However, scope of complacency is limited for Google. With growing competence among players, each of the cloud service providers is investing considerable resources for securing their cloud infrastructure.

Earlier this month, Amazon expanded its AWS partnership with CyberArk to help customers accelerate their cloud-driven digital transformation initiatives while safeguarding themselves against potential threats.

Moreover, in November this year, IBM announced Cloud Pak for Security, featuring open-source technology for identifying threats, automation capabilities to expedite response to cyberattacks, and the ability to run in any environment.

Further, Microsoft and Wipro have teamed up to launch advanced cloud Security Operations Centre services using Microsoft Azure Sentinel, featuring built-in Al and Orchestration capabilities for quick threat detection and response across hybrid cloud environments.

Google Poised for Further Growth in 2020

Google Cloud is surging under the leadership of Thomas Kurian. In July, Google revealed that its cloud business raked in an average run rate of more than $8 billion in annual revenues.

Amazon and Microsoft reported slowing cloud growth for the third quarter, but they generated much higher revenues than Google Cloud.

Nonetheless, despite not having a specific number in the third quarter of 2019, Google mentioned that its revenues were primarily driven by growth in its cloud business.

Moreover, the steps taken by the company highlight the growing importance of Google Cloud in the cloud security market, which is likely to boost revenues in 2020.

Zacks Rank

Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon currently carry a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

IBM carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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