Most folks think you need to be a day trading financial junkie to have any interest in quarterly earnings releases and/or conference call transcripts. But you can learn a lot from following the results of your strategic security vendors and companies you don’t do business with, but who would like to do business with you. You can glean stuff about overall market health, significant problem spaces, technology innovation, and business execution.

For instance, if you are thinking about upgrading your perimeter network security gear you have a bunch of options, most of them public companies. You cannot going much about Cisco, Juniper, IBM, Dell, or HP through their conference calls. Security is barely a rounding error for those technology behemoths, although a company like Intel does talk a little bit about its McAfee division because it is key to its growth prospects.

But if you pay attention to the smaller public companies, such as Symantec, Check Point, Fortinet, Palo Alto, Sourcefire, Imperva, Websense, Qualys, etc., you can learn about how those bigger companies are competing. You need to keep in mind that you get a very (very very) skewed perspective, but it provides some ammo when challenging sales reps from those big companies.

You can also learn a lot about business. How certain channel strategies work, or don’t work, which can help optimize how you procure technology. You can get a feel for R&D spend by your key vendors, which is important to the health of their new product pipelines. You should also read the Q&A transcripts, where investment analysts ask about different geographies, margins, product growth, and a host of other things.

This information cannot help you configure your devices more effectively, but it does help you understand the folks you do business with, and feel better about writing big checks to your strategic vendors. Especially when you know the big deal they mention in the conference call is you.

Here is a list of transcripts for the major publicly traded security companies. And if your favorite company (or the one in your 401k) isn’t here, it’s likely because they haven’t announced their Q1 results yet (like Splunk), or they may still be private.

  1. Symantec FQ4 2013 Earnings Call Transcript
  2. Check Point Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript
  3. Fortinet Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript
  4. Sourcefire Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript
  5. Qualys Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript
  6. Imperva Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript
  7. Websense Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript
  8. Proofpoint Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript
  9. SolarWinds Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript
  10. VASCO Data Security Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript
  11. Zix Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

That should keep you busy for a little while…

Photo credit: “scrooge-mcduck” originally uploaded by KentonNgo