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Choosing security software products: Does vendor revenue matter?

Gartner Inc. recently released its security software market revenue rankings. What indicators do you typically take away from such rankings, and how should they affect enterprise security software purchasing decisions?

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Security software market revenue rankings should have little to do with decisions to acquire and deploy enterprise security software products. I don’t feel that the revenue of one company increasing while another decreases actually speaks to the quality or capability of its security software. Quite the contrary, I am often looking for new vendors that propose solving security problems in new and unique ways. I don't find that innovation tends to come from the larger companies. They often have to acquire these new ventures to find new products and enter new markets.

Cisco Systems Inc.'s acquisition of Sourcefire Inc. is a perfect example. Cisco has been trying to enter the security space for years but couldn't seem to get the right technology at the right time. Next-generation firewalls were not developed at Cisco, for example, even though the company known as the "networking giant" has held a strong presence in that market for many years. Sourcefire, which was started as a personal project in Martin Roesch's basement, was able to innovate because smaller companies can take more risk. This is where new ideas are born, and this is where I look for my security software solutions.

The only use I have found for vendor revenue reports is to determine if a vendor is failing completely. I want to make sure that my security software partners will be around for the foreseeable future to provide updates and support. I don't want to select a security software product only to have the company disappear. I suggest selecting software security based on its technical merit and leaving the revenue ranking reports to the investors.

This was first published in August 2013

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