Cybersecurity is big business. According to publisher Cybersecurity Ventures, cyber crime is likely to cost the global economy $10.5 trillion by 2025. The total addressable market for cybersecurity is estimated to be worth between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion, of which only 10% has been tapped to date, according to management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. This amounts to a huge opportunity for both cybersecurity companies and investors. In the coming years, more money will need to be spent by both corporations and individuals on cybersecurity to safeguard sensitive information ranging from passwords and Social Security numbers to intellectual property and cloud data. The proliferation of artificial intelligence is expected to only increase demand for cybersecurity. As the market for cybersecurity expands, we’ll take a look at the best cybersecurity stocks to buy now. Here are our top seven picks.
|BUG||Global X cybersecurity ETF||$22.53|
Still a leader in the cybersecurity market, CrowdStrike’s (NASDAQ:CRWD) share price has gained 14% in 2023. However, CRWD stock is trading at about half its 52-week high of $242. This offers a nice entry point for investors who want a best-in-class cybersecurity stock. Since its initial public offering (IPO) in June 2019, CrowdStrike’s stock has risen 90% despite the share price being dragged lower by the stock market’s retreat over the past year.
And despite some hiccups coming out of the pandemic, CrowdStrike remains in full growth mode, having reported that its annual recurring revenue increased 54% in its fiscal third quarter to $2.34 billion.
The company now has more than 21,000 customers who rely on it to help protect their cellphones, laptops and cloud storage from cyberattacks. Many analysts point out that cybersecurity is viewed as an essential expense among businesses, making CRWD stock largely recession-proof.
Okta (NASDAQ:OKTA) is a bit different than the other companies on this list because it focuses on helping organizations manage passwords and user authentication. Given that most emails and applications are breached due to stolen passwords, Okta plays a very important role when it comes to safeguarding companies. It’s particularly important for large firms with thousands of workers spread all over the world. The company’s cloud software can be used to protect websites and individual devices.
Like most tech and cybersecurity companies, Okta has had a rough go of it over the past year. In the last 12 months, OKTA stock has retreated 61%. However, the bleeding appears to have stopped as the share price has inched up 4% to start the year
The company recently announced 300 job cuts and has been winning over analysts. After surveying Okta’s customers, investment bank Stifel Financial (NYSE:SF) recently gave the stock a “buy” rating and a $90 price target.
Palo Alto Networks (PANW)
If there’s a darling cybersecurity stock on Wall Street right now, it is Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ:PANW). The company knocked it out of the park with its recent earnings report. PANW stock responded by jumping 10% higher in a single trading day. So far in 2023, PANW stock has gained 34%. Investors have been bidding up the stock after Palo Alto Networks reported earnings per share (EPS) of $1.05 compared to 78 cents that was expected, on average, by Wall Street analysts.
Palo Alto Networks has managed to achieve profitability ahead of schedule, and issued bullish forward guidance. The company also continues to use an aggressive acquisition strategy designed to boost its growth.
At the end of last year, Palo Alto Networks acquired start-up Cider Security, which focuses on software supply chain and application security. Over five years, the company has spent more than $3 billion on acquisitions as it seeks to accelerate its growth.
Cloudflare (NYSE:NET) is an internet-focused cybersecurity company that provides its services to both businesses and individual consumers. The company’s services help to optimize the performance of both websites and mobile device applications. Like other names on this list, NET stock is attracting attention from Wall Street analysts. Investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald recently raised its price target on the stock to $65 from $55 and said it sees positive catalysts for the company moving forward.
NET stock has been on a run to start the year, having gained 30% since the first trading day of January. The stock might be up more except for the fact that Cloudflare, which was founded in 2010, remains unprofitable. However, the company continues to be in growth mode with its revenue growing 42% in 2022. This year, Cloudflare has forecast revenue growth of between 36% and 38%.
Since its IPO five years ago, cloud security company Zscaler (NASDAQ:ZS) has boosted its shares nearly 300% Through two months of 2023, ZS stock is up 14%. Investors and analysts like the wide array of applications for Zscaler’s cybersecurity product, which is used in industries as diverse as airlines, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and media. And, like many other names on this list, Zscaler is earning analysts’ praise, with investment bank Needham placing a “strong buy” rating on the stock.
Zscaler also continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The company reported 54% year-over-year revenue growth in its most recent earnings print, and generated $100 million of free cash flow at the end of that period.
While Zscaler is not yet profitable, many analysts say the company is on track to erase its red ink. Zscaler also has a long runway ahead of it with only about 2,200 customers.
However, each customer spends more than $100,000 on its platform, and the company boasts a retention rate of 100%.
A purveyor of firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion prevention systems, Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT) is one of the older cybersecurity companies on this list, having been founded back in 2000. A mature company, FTNT has been a consistent winner for investors over the past 23 years.
So far this year, the stock has gained 20%. Founded by brothers Ken and Michael Xie, Fortinet today has annual revenues of more than $4 billion.
Despite being in operation for more than two decades, Fortinet too remains a growth stock. The company has forecasted year-over-year earnings growth of 17.7% for its current fiscal year.
FTNT stock jumped 11% immediately following its latest earnings print. The company reported that, for all of 2022, its revenue rose 32% year-over-year to $4.42 billion, while its EPS grew 49% to $1.19 per share.
Plus, the number of Fortinet’s new contracts worth more than $50,000 last quarter climbed 29% versus the same period a year earlier to 5,000
Global X Cybersecurity ETF (BUG)
For investors who want broad exposure to multiple cybersecurity stocks, there is the Global X Cybersecurity ETF (NASDAQ:BUG). Holding the BUG ETF gives investors exposure to all the stocks on this list and many more. The biggest holdings in the fund are shares of FTNT and PANW. Other companies included in BUG are BlackBerry (NYSE:BB), SentinelOne (NYSE:S), and Trend Micro (OTC:TMICY). BUG has been structured to provide investors with exposure to a wide cross-section of the cybersecurity industry.
In terms of its performance, the Global X Cybersecurity ETF has declined 33% over the past year as the entire market turned downwards. However, the fund is up 9% over the past three years and has grown 11% since it was founded in October 2019. Its expense ratio is tolerable at 0.50% and the BUG ETF pays a semiannual dividend of 32 cents per unit held. For conservative investors who want exposure t the cybersecurity sector, this exchange-traded fund could be the way to go.