Security spend hits $10bn as SMEs wise up

Gartner says the US$10.5bn figure will be reached by the end of 2008, rising to US$13.1bn by 2012, as SMEs intensify their focus on security.

Global security software revenue is expected to reach US$10.5bn worldwide this year, an 11.2 percent increase over 2007, and will exceed US$13.1bn in 2012, according to research firm Gartner.

Increasing demand for a mobile workforce and awareness of damage caused by security breaches will continue to drive the global security software market, Gartner said.

According to Ruggero Contu, Gartner principal research analyst, organisations now recognise the need for a more "open" connectivity with business partners and third-party companies.

As such, Contu said, assessing the security infrastructure of third-party organisations is becoming a critical factor for businesses, as is the need to secure communication points with these partners.

Contu added that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) specifically are intensifying their focus on security technology and services and gradually moving from standalone applications toward integrated, multi-function products.

The need for businesses to be compliant with government regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, remains a significant factor driving security-spending decisions, where investments are justified simply because the damage from breaches is potentially so great.

Contu said in a statement: "Security spending is driven by a variety of pressing concerns, the most immediate of which is the need to 'keep the bad guys out' through defensive measures such as next-generation firewalls. However, the 'let the good guys in' discipline, such as identity and access management, is where business benefits and returns on investment can be more clearly shown."

According to Gartner, however, security-software market growth could be stunted by the pressures of economic instability on IT budgets.

The analyst added that merger and acquisition activities in the market could impede new purchases, because businesses are cautious about investing in products which may no longer be supported following a merger.

Increasing competition in certain segments, such as antivirus and email security, from large market entrants, such as Microsoft and Google, will also force prices down and impact overall revenue growth over the next few years, Gartner said.