Innovation counts in security buys

Established vendors are viewed as innovators, and buying decisions in Asia are influenced by how innovative a vendor is perceived to be, an IDC study finds.

Businesses in the Asia-Pacific region may be more inclined to invest in security products by traditional heavyweights such as Symantec and McAfee, because these companies are perceived to be innovators in the area of security software, according to a new IDC survey.

In a statement Monday, IDC said the findings of a recent study designed to measure the impact of innovation on IT buying decisions, revealed a shift in buying behavior as decision-makers look beyond cost when evaluating software security technologies for their organizations. The study was conducted in Australia, China, India and Korea.

Respondents from all four countries consider innovation as "more value for money as vendors bundle new features in products", IDC said, adding that organizations may therefore be looking for value in their software investments, and not just at the price.

Based on respondents' feedback, established names such as Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro, and large infrastructure software vendors, including IBM and Microsoft, topped the list for innovation.

However, IDC analyst Willie Low highlighted the emergence of local security vendors such as China's Rising and Ahnlab from Korea. Both Asian companies, he noted, had received encouraging ratings in the survey.

"Interestingly in Korea and People's Republic of China (PRC), the local security software vendors, though smaller than international players, dominated the mindshare for product and process innovation," said Low in statement. "This augurs well for these vendors when end users are basing buying decisions on vendor innovation."

Low noted, however, that infrastructure software vendors surveyed--such as IBM and Microsoft--did not have security as their primary business focus, instead relying on established product lines in their portfolio to influence buyer perception of their security offerings.

He added that these new players may have the opportunity to leverage their brand equity to leapfrog competitors in the security software business, especially if they are trusted names in the market for other products.

Commenting on buyers' growing taste for innovation when choosing software security products, the IDC analyst explained this could have implications for all vendors in the security software market.

Low said that for large vendors entering the security market, the perception of how innovative their other business lines are can make or break their security software business. Likewise, existing security vendors looking to diversify into other markets will need to consider if their new business lines will affect their core security business, added Low.

Farihan Bahrin as a freelance IT writer based in Singapore.