What happened

Shares of cybersecurity expert Fortinet (FTNT -0.48%) rose 13.6% in February 2023, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The company posted strong earnings and a bullish slate of guidance targets early in the month. The stock gained 11% that day and continued to bubble higher as investors digested the robust report.

So what

Fortinet's fourth-quarter sales stopped at $1.28 billion, 33% above the year-ago reading. Adjusted earnings increased by 76% to $0.44 per diluted share. The top-line result was in line with Wall Street's expectations, but the bottom-line profits beat the consensus analyst view by 13%.

Looking ahead, Fortinet's management set up full-year earnings and revenue targets just above the current Street views.

Now what

This unique security specialist combines a rapidly growing market with industry-leading profit margins. Fortinet offers a flexible portfolio of security tools, from threat-scanning firewalls and network automation tools to hardened login management systems and client-side security software.

Management sees this top-to-bottom tool kit as a crucial selling point. They referred to "integrated" security systems 15 times in this earnings call.

In a statement, CEO Ken Xie said:

We continue to gain market share in the service security industry with customers increasingly recognizing how Fortinet integration and a single-platform approach to security delivers a low total cost of ownership and a greater return on investment than competing solutions. 

I'm impressed by Fortinet's muscular sales growth, especially against the background of tight infrastructure budgets in this inflation-burdened economy. Network security is one of those essential functions you can't scale down even in a challenging market. On top of that, it's not easy to find another cybersecurity provider that can match Fortinet's sturdy profit margins.

So it's no surprise to see Fortinet's stock outperforming the market in February, in 2023 year to date, and in the long run. The stock isn't cheap at 10.6 times trailing sales and 57 times earnings, but I would argue that it deserves a premium price. Take a closer look before adding Fortinet to your own portfolio, but I think you'll like what you see.