Check Point CEO lays out strategy to continue strong 2023 momentum in 2004

Gil Shwed emphasized that going forward, Check Point needs to be focused on its cloud-delivered platform together with an intensified AI strategy.

Check Point CEO Gil Shwed onstage

LAS VEGAS – Check Point CEO Gil Shwed announced a little over a month ago that after 30 years of running Check Point, the last of the company’s original founders will be stepping down once a replacement is secured, and that he will then transition to the Chairman of the Board. Still, Shwed laid out onstage the company’s roadmap for 2024 with plans that it would build on what was a very strong 2023.

“What are we facing in our industry?” he asked rhetorically. “The only way to prevail now is with a platform which is AI powered and cloud delivered. Five to six years ago we said that was the future, but at that time it still wasn’t the present. Now we need to be in the forefront of protecting customers against these modern threats.”

Shwed agreed with the general assessment of the industry that 2023 was the year of AI – but unlike many vendors, he said that not all customers were clamoring to buy last year.

“AI is playing a bigger role in peoples’ lives but still hasn’t made it to everyone’s front stage,” he said.

Shwed pointed out that the way to make a breakthrough here is to build on the progress Check Point made last year.

“We want to show how we took what we did last year and drove it toward protecting against a 90% increase in ransomware attacks,” he said. “We need a platform to defend against what’s coming.”

Shwed also emphasized that this platform must be fully AI-powered and cloud delivered.

“In ThreatCloud, we have more than 90 security engines,” he said. “50 plus are AI powered, both up from the previous year, when the numbers were 80 engines, and 40 AI-powered respectively. The pace of innovation is moving faster and faster.”

Shwed stressed that Check Point wantsto move even more into AI and Generative AI, and take them to the next level.

“Our strategy has evolved in two main areas,” said Itai Greenberg, Chief Strategy Officer at Check Point. “One is way more focused on AI, while the second is more focused on the platform side. “It’s all on the integration and collaboration side, and since we started doing big acquisitions, it’s all about the innovations.”

2023, Greenberg said, was the year of the Generative AI breakthrough.

“It’s now about making it better, more accurate and providing more use cases,” he stated. “We are now looking to take it from an idea to where everyone can operate it, and find the right use cases and makes. There are many Generative AI systems, but it’s all about how you use them. I can have a car that is very secure in my backyard – but can be scary outside because it can be used to create great malware. There are many reasons for us to be worried about security and the implications of AI, and so we are working hard on technology to secure AI.”

The acquisition strategy, where Greenberg as Chief Strategy Officer is heavily involved, is a critical part of this.

“We had a very clear strategy to be and to stay the clear leader in Internet security,” he said. So we decided to invest in SD1 SASE, an internal development.  We then acquired Perimeter 81, and Atmosec, the latter of which secures connectivity, so that all those plug-ins to SASE vendors will not harm security.”

Greenberg concluded that customers should think about following three things in defining their cybersecurity strategy.

“First, they should stop assuming that there wil be rich spending dollars for privilege-focused security,” he said. “Today they spend too much on privilege and not prevention.”

Secondly, if they miscalculate, they can move from predictive to unproductive.

Thirdly Greenberg emphasized the need to reduce security vendors in their company, and in point products, which tend to be the same thing.

“They need to halve money spent on point products and focus on platforms,” he said.