What happened

Palo Alto (PANW 7.33%) shareholders beat a surging market in November as their stock rose 33% compared to the 11% increase in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The rally pushed the cybersecurity specialist back into positive territory for the year, up over 20% through early December.

A hacker, wearing a hood, works in the dark at a laptop.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Investors cheered the company's fiscal first-quarter results, which were released in the middle of the month. That report showed a 23% sales boost and strong adjusted cash flow, which management said was tied to Palo Alto's popular new releases.

"Both our firewall transformation and our next-generation security services continue to make great progress," CEO Nikesh Arora said in a press release that also included an upgraded forecast for the rest of the year.

Now what

Palo Alto now sees sales rising by between 20% and 21% this year as enterprises continue to spend freely on software-as-a-service products. But the latest earnings results demonstrate that the business performs at its best while maintaining a steady stream of innovative software launches.

Assuming it continues that streak -- and that global economic conditions don't worsen over the next few months -- Palo Alto looks set to keep expanding its sales base through into 2021.