Consolidation: Is security on life support?

One would think the trend would lead to a seismic shift in how enterprises secure their networks, but that has not been the case.

 

Is Security on Life Support?


Analysts, industry observers and even vendor executives have been tripping over each other for a year to write the obituary of the standalone security market. The future, they say, is to have security built into a range of larger IT infrastructure, and not as an add-on in the aftermarket.

One would think the trend would lead to a seismic shift in how enterprises secure their networks, but that has not been the case.

Acquisitions have been so frequent in the last two years that many companies have adapted, they say. And for the average IT security executive, the shrinking security market doesn't really change what they need to do.

Burton Group analyst Eric Maiwald says that extends to the types of decisions enterprises must make when sizing up vendors.

"The question is pretty much the same for enterprise users," he says. "What are you trying to do as a business, where are your biggest risks on that front and how best can you mitigate the threats?"

Further, he expects there will always be a standalone security market that addresses new threats. New threats will continue to emerge and new companies will emerge specializing in whatever those new threats may be.

"We are constantly faced with new threats and problems in certain technologies, and then a vendor pops up claiming they can fix the problem, and they either thrive or fail," Maiwald says. "The cycle will continue in that new problems will arise and vendors will pop up specializing in the solution."

Art Coviello, president of RSA, The Security Division of EMC, agrees, despite his prediction at last year's RSA Conference that the industry as we know it would be gone in three years.

"There is still no shortage of new companies solving little point problems that have developed," he says, mentioning data leak prevention and network access control as examples of where new innovation recently has been seen.

"You'll continue to see people and companies trying to solve specific point problems," he says, "but it becomes difficult for enterprises to have dozens and dozens of point vendors. It's an issue of vendor management."

--BILL BRENNER

 

 

This was first published in February 2008

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