NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Cybercrime is still on the rise despite numerous efforts to keep hackers from accessing sensitive personal and business information. And because this problem isn't going away, Check Point Software (CHKP) - Get Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. Report, which specializes in cyberthreat prevention, still has a large market to address.
With a market share of 23% in firewall equipment, Israel-based Check Point ranked No. 1 in that category for all of 2014, surpassing Cisco Systems (CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report. Cisco is second at 14.8% market share, and Fortinet (FTNT) - Get Fortinet, Inc. (FTNT) Report is third at 12.1%.
Check Point's ability to continue to grow its market share is helping to dispel most concerns that about the emergence of Palo Alto Networks (PANW) - Get Palo Alto Networks, Inc. Report and the competitive threat it poses to Check Point.
Price competition in Check Point's business can be stiff. But Check Point's move to consolidate the top features across its portfolio of threat-prevention products has been a wise move. It allows businesses to preserve the safety and integrity of their data while still keeping costs down. That Check Point continues to gain more customers each quarter shows that this move is paying off. Check Point's market share in advanced persistent threat is at almost 40%.
All of this supports why the company was named among 2015's top security picks by analyst Karl Keirstead of Deutsche Bank.
Keirstead in December upgraded Check Point stock to buy from hold and set a 12-month price target of $90 price target. Since that recommendation, Check Point stock has soared 14%.
Check Point price-to-earnings ratio of 24 makes it cheap compared to rival Fortinet, which has a P/E of 230, and Palo Alto Networks, which has a P/E of 367.
Accordingly, most analysts give Check Point a buy rating, and the average 12-month price target from analysts is $86, suggesting the stock can gain 4.9% from the its level of around $82 on Friday afternoon. That's not that impressive a gain, it's true. But analysts may be waiting for the company to report first-quarter earnings Monday before they raise their price targets.
Why wait, however, and be too late to the party? Getting ahead of the news is the surest way to profit.
For the quarter that ended March 31, Check Point is expected to earn 91 cents per share on revenue of $370 million, both translating to year-over-year increases of 8%.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.