The smaller they stand, the faster they rise -- or at least that has been the pattern among security software stocks over the last year or so.

So it stands to reason that Check Point Software Technologies (Nasdaq: CHKP) reported a fine quarter with both sales and earnings above Street estimates, yet the stock failed to jump sky-high on the news. After all, we're talking about a fairly large player in its industry, and a stock that already climbed a market-beating 13% since the last earnings report.

Check Point's sales rose 15% year-over-year to $281 million and non-GAAP earnings jumped 16% to $0.64 per share. It's hard to say whether these increases are a sign of larger or smaller market share for Check Point, as chief rivals Fortinet (Nasdaq: FTNT), Sourcefire (Nasdaq: FIRE), and Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) will report their results over the coming weeks (Check Point is the forerunner of its peers). McAfee's results are closer at hand, as Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) reports earnings next Tuesday and now treats its newly-acquired security business as the bulk of a new division.

Fellow Fool Rick Munarriz sees Check Point as a "no-brainer acquisition target," even with a market cap north of $10 billion. Security solutions are a very big deal nowadays and only getting bigger, so that makes plenty of sense for a deep-pocketed technology giant without a horse in the security race.                                                              

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) does sell network security products and services but would certainly welcome an extra helping of market credibility; Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) has the wherewithal and the end-to-end ambitions, and its software-based portfolio fits nicely with the worldview of new CEO Leo Apotheker.

And this quarter's high-quality results did nothing to hurt Check Point's chances of finding a buyer. I'm slapping a short-term "outperform" tag on Check Point in CAPS, in order to capture the buyout potential and generally strong business trends. Click here to play along!