Endpoint Security Administrator Password

Hey, Palo Alto Networks and FireEye – grow up! So you bombed a test with NSS Labs. Get over it. Fighting with NSS Labs over the results makes you look weak.  You both claim to be leaders in the industry, well act like it.  Stop behaving like a child. So you made a mistake? That’s normal. Fix the problem and face reality.

If you are not familiar with this recent kerfuffle, both Palo Alto Networks () and FireEye () performed poorly in their respective .  Both threw a tantrum and accused NSS Labs of being biased, unfair testing practices, and so forth.

UPDATE October 9, 2014: PAN and NSS have made up. You can read NSS response and PANW’s .  PANW issued an update to their platform today (10/9/2014) .  Now, that is the kind of maturity we expect from PANW! Good job guys. 

You can read Palo Alto’s original tantrum , and FireEye’s whining .

Better, check out NSS Labs very rational responses for FEYE and for PANW .

Palo Alto Networks (PANW) is the real surprise here.  PANW has always shown amazing maturity when confronted with difficulty.  Last year when a bug was uncovered that , PANW faced the problem and was honest. They fixed it (sort of) and handled the matter with respect.  Mark McLaughlin is a sensible and savvy leader.  How did he let his company devolve to this immature behavior? UPDATE: They did the right thing after all. 

Immature behavior from FireEye (FEYE) is less surprising.  After riding their IPO to ludicrous heights, then acquiring hotshot forensics firm Mandiant, FEYE got a big dose of reality with the NSS breach detection report.  They were one of the worst performing appliances, being beaten out by the likes of Fortinet and Trend Micro.  Of course, rather than accept this fate, they shot back at NSS labs claiming the whole thing was a setup and a fraud.  FEYEs tantrum did not go unnoticed.  The press picked up on and .  FEYEs stock is now at all time lows and other players are rapidly eclipsing them.

NSS Labs has a long standing reputation of being unbiased and very rational.  Their methodology is public and their results consistent.  You can read their methodologies . Honestly, it is good to see them standing up to big names like PANW and FEYE rather than roll over and embrace their inner Gartner. (Oh, I kid Gartner, we all love those Magic Quadrants.)

Other companies have endured bad NSS reports.  Last year Watchguard got a very poor grade from a .  WatchGuard has been a struggling company for years, but they kept their grumbling and whining to a minimum.  Rather, they buckled down and fixed their issues.  For the most recent NGFW test, WatchGuard had excellent performance.

A few years back, Sourcefire had a similarly bad showing in a report.  Their response was amazingly mature.  They said they did not like it, but it was a wake up call to get better. And they did.  Sourcefire has consistently been at the top of all the independent tests.

What makes these companies act so immaturely?  Arrogance. Trapped inside the fishbowl of their own success, companies like PANW and FEYE become incapable of contrasting themselves against the rest of the market.  They become so in love with themselves they forget that they too can mess up.

This arrogance can be extremely destructive.  Arrogant companies have a limited future.  Arrogant companies, like arrogant people, breed resentment, mistrust, and anger.  These are not the foundations of a successful business.  It is one of the reasons why so many competitors have targeted PANW and FEYE.  It is not just that they are fast moving players, they are so arrogant about it they paint a giant target on their backs.

If you want to really build a sustainable, growing, and healthy business, you must be able to face failure.  How we deal with failure is as least as important as how we deal with success (to paraphrase the great James Kirk.)

PANW and FEYE, take some free advice, pull down your frothy blog posts. Say you are sorry, and go fix your technology. You both have very innovative products.  Quit blaming NSS Labs for not drinking your Kool-Aid and behave like the leaders you claim to be.

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