Recession fears have torn the stock market apart this year. The S&P 500 had its worst first half since 1970, the Nasdaq Composite suffered its sharpest decline in more than a decade, and both indexes have fallen into a bear market. Suffice it to say few investors will have fond memories of 2022. But investors that fail to capitalize on the buying opportunities created by the bear market will eventually come to regret it.
For instance, cybersecurity leaders CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD -1.81%) and Zscaler (ZS -1.39%) have seen their share prices fall 65% and 70%, respectively, but both companies have continued to report monster financial results. For that reason, both stocks are well positioned to rebound when the next bull market begins.
Here's what investors should know. CrowdStrike: One of the fastest-growing software companies in history
CrowdStrike provides 23 software modules that address several cybersecurity verticals, from endpoint security to threat intelligence. But unlike solutions from other vendors, all of those modules are delivered through a single sensor that can be installed without a device reboot. Better yet, CrowdStrike built its platform to crowdsource tremendous amounts of data, and that makes its artificial intelligence engine uniquely effective in detecting threats, according to management.
In a nutshell, the company offers a more effective, more convenient, and more comprehensive product suite than other cybersecurity vendors, and that advantage has made its platform the gold standard in several industry verticals. Earlier this year, Forrester Research recognized CrowdStrike as the leader in endpoint detection and incident response services. More recently, Frost & Sullivan recognized its leadership in cloud-native application protection and threat intelligence. Those are just a few examples in a long list of accolades.
Not surprisingly, CrowdStrike is growing like wildfire. In fact, it recently became the second fastest-growing software company in history after reaching a $2 billion annual revenue run rate. But other metrics are equally impressive. CrowdStrike increased its customer count 44% in the third quarter, and its gross retention rate stayed above 98%, which means fewer than 2% of customers discontinued service over the past year. That speaks volumes about the value its platform creates.
Looking ahead, CrowdStrike is well positioned to maintain its momentum. Management values its addressable market at $76 billion in 2023, but future innovations could push that figure up to $158 billion by 2026. And with shares trading at 11.8 times sales -- the lowest valuation since CrowdStrike went public in 2019 -- now is an excellent time to buy this growth stock. Zscaler: An industry leader for 11 consecutive years
Zscaler specializes in network security, cloud workload protection, and digital experience monitoring. Its platform, known as a security service edge (SSE), modernizes corporate networks by inspecting traffic and enforcing zero-trust policies in the cloud rather than in private data centers. That eliminates the cost and complexity of on-premise appliances, while enabling users to quickly and securely access corporate resources from any device or location.
Better yet, Zscaler operates the largest network security cloud in the world. Its platform handles more than 250 billion requests each day, capturing over 300 trillion security signals in the process. Each of those data points informs its artificial intelligence models, allowing Zscaler to deliver better threat protection than other network security vendors. To that end, IT research specialist Gartner has recognized Zscaler as an industry leader for 11 consecutive years and counting.
That strong market position has consistently translated into turbocharged financial results. In the most recent quarter, revenue increased 54% to $356 million, and non-GAAP net income soared 110% to $0.29 per diluted share. Looking ahead, Zscaler reported remaining performance obligations (RPO) of $2.7 billion during the quarter, up 57% from the prior year. RPO is a leading indicator of future revenue growth, and because RPO is climbing more quickly that current revenue, Zscaler could very well accelerate its top-line growth in the coming quarters.
Management estimates its serviceable market opportunity at $72 billion, and Zscaler should benefit greatly as more organizations look to modernize and secure their corporate networks. In fact, enterprise penetration of SSE platforms is expected to quadruple between 2021 and 2025, according to Gartner. That should be a tremendous tailwind for Zscaler.
On that note, shares currently trade at 12.8 times sales, the cheapest valuation since 2018. That's why this growth stock is worth buying today.
Trevor Jennewine has positions in CrowdStrike and Zscaler. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends CrowdStrike and Zscaler. The Motley Fool recommends Gartner. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.