What happened

Shares of cybersecurity expert Fortinet (FTNT -0.72%) returned 51.6% in 2019, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The market-crushing gain hinged on a fantastic fourth-quarter report at the end of October.

So what

Fortinet's fourth-quarter sales rose 21% year over year to $548 million, roughly $14 million ahead of the analyst consensus. Adjusted earnings increased from $0.49 to $0.67 per share, also much better than the Street's estimates of approximately $0.56 per share. The stock closed 10.5% higher the next day.

A row of pixelated padlock icons, where one red lock is open and four blue ones stay closed.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

That muscular report triggered a boatload of bullish analyst reports. Analysts like Fortinet's leadership in the red-hot cloud security market, which is tightly connected to the onrushing influx of Internet of Things devices and 5G networking. IoT devices shouldn't be trusted without a secure data connection, and Fortinet's specialty is in providing exactly that peace of mind through cloud-based security analysis tools.

This company is taking advantage of broad and deep macro trends across the tech sector, and it's no surprise to see Fortinet's shares surging after an earnings report of this brawny caliber.