ISS wants to crack Gulf Web security market

Internet Security Systems (ISS) may have cornered 52% of the worldwide intrusion detection market, but it has yet to raise its profile here in the Middle East.

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By  Robin Duff Published  September 12, 2000

Internet Security Systems (ISS) has planted its first flag in the Middle East market with the opening of an office in Cairo.

The new company, ISS Middle East, is a joint venture partnership with Sarhank Group for Investment, a family owned group of companies with businesses including military and defence equipment as well as information technology.

ISS Middle East will market and distribute the entire family of ISS security management solutions throughout the region, working with partners in every country of the Middle East once a network of partners is established.

Strong need for security solutions

“As corporations worldwide embrace e-business practices, there continues to be a strong need for solutions that can manage and control the overall security of customers' networks,” said Alex Bogaerts, vice-president of ISS EMEA operations. Moustapha Sarhank, president and CEO of Sarhank Group for Investments, has pledged to head the ISS operation personally, despite the fact that he oversees other businesses worth close to $500 million. Sarhank confessed that ISS' approach in this respect was a little unusual.

“I hadn't heard of such a set up before,” commented Sarhank. “Unlike many organisations, ISS wanted to implement a new business model which was very peculiar: finding a company which had significant links throughout the Gulf, and then putting its president in charge of all of its operations is unique.”

ISS is a specialist in network security management, offering solutions such as the SAFEsuite family of products for intrusion detection, security assessment and security management. The company has cornered the worldwide intrusion detection and vulnerability assessment markets according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), garnering 48% of the vulnerability assessment market and 52% of the intrusion detection solution market. Examination of the IDC market numbers reveal ISS' bolstering strength as the number one worldwide network-based leader in combined IDnA solutions with 43 percent total market-share, once again nearly double that of its nearest competitor.

Outpacing the market

ISS growth has also clearly outpaced the market with an overall growth rate from 1997 to 1998 of 149 percent in the worldwide intrusion detection and assessment category compared to the overall market growth rate of 135 percent. IDC confirms that the outlook for intrusion detection and vulnerability assessment solutions is bright. IDC expects this market to almost double from 1998 to 1999 and maintain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39% through 2003.

The report states, “ISS is a very aggressive company, with complete focus on identifying network and system vulnerabilities. ISS' strength has been derived from network-based IDnA, with host-based products becoming quickly integrated into the (SAFEsuite) product architecture. With a strong focus on ease of use, IDC believes, ISS will play a crucial role in bringing the next wave of customers into this market.”

Based on revenue growth, ISS is also emerging as a leader and pioneer in a new area of security technology - integrated security data analysis. IDC names this technology “an important step toward allowing customers to logically deal with the fire hose of vulnerabilities.” SAFEsuite Decisions further extends the value of its vulnerability assessment and intrusion detection solutions through high level integration and enterprise security risk management.

SAFEsuite Decisions integrates data from multiple sources across the enterprise — including firewalls, intrusion detection and vulnerability assessment systems — providing customers with instant knowledge of severe security conditions and high level enterprise security analysis.

Consolidation and correlation

ISS believes this emerging technology will continue to grow as it meets a significant customer demand and automates the most difficult part of information risk management— the consolidation and correlation of large amounts of enterprise security data into actionable information.

“When you look at security, you cannot talk about intrusion detection in isolation,” said Sarhank. “We preach that companies should ideally have 7 layers of security to their infrastructure. Companies should not look at security from an aesthetic point of view, but rather from a dynamic point of view. With security you must always be resolute, and dynamically evolve to keep up with changing threats.”

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