Security software booms in the Gulf

The software security market is booming in the Gulf, according to IDC. It says that the market hit US$44.31 million in 2002 with the secure content management taking the largest slice.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  August 25, 2003

The software security market is booming in the Gulf, according to IDC. It says that the market hit US$44.31 million in 2002 with the secure content management (specifically antivirus software) segment overshadowing the rest of the market with a 57.2% share of spending.

"When it comes time to choose security products, many regional CIOs prefer to stick with easily understood, proven technologies such as firewalls and antivirus and avoid deploying more innovative technologies like intrusion detection and authentication," says
Heini Booysen, senior analyst with IDC Middle East & North Africa.

"The general feeling tends to be that the more complex the systems, the more likely it is to be misconfigured leading to security holes, vulnerabilities, and exploits," he adds.

The analyst house reports that roughly three quarters of security software spending originated in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Spending on advanced technologies like security 3A (authentication, authorisation, administration) and intrusion detection also enjoyed more prevalence in these countries, while low complexity products, such as antivirus and firewalls, dominated security software spending in the other Gulf countries.

"Security is increasingly occupying the minds of Middle East IT decision-makers," says Booysen. "However the Gulf States security market is in many ways showing signs of immaturity, and there is still a severe lack of awareness of the potential risk of security attacks. Regional organisations still largely perceive security as a grudge purchase that implies companies often spend in a reactive manner. In other words, only when actual security breach occurs, will companies react. "

Over the next five years, IDC expects the Gulf States security software market to expand at a healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.5% to reach US$161.67 million by 2007. The major areas of growth are expected to be secure content management, security 3A and intrusion detection and vulnerability assessment software. The growth in the region will be driven by the increasing need for companies to do business online, the major success of e-government initiatives, the explosive growth in popularity of online banking as well as the growth of security attacks.

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