IT security woes fuel software vendor sales

Spending on security software jumped up by 25.5% to US$52.59 million in the Gulf States in 2003 and is expected to rise by 27% in 2004. According to a new IDC study, viruses, worms, spyware and spam, the largest security threats to regional businesses are driving the sales of secure content management apps.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  October 17, 2004

Spending on security software jumped up by 25.5% to US$52.59 million in the Gulf States in 2003 and is expected to rise by 27% in 2004. According to a new IDC study, viruses, worms, spyware and spam, widely considered to be the largest security threats to businesses in the Gulf are driving the sales of secure content management applications. The research firm’s new report ‘Gulf States Security Software 2004-2008 Forecast and 2003 Vendor Share’ covers the security software market in the Gulf States for 2003 and forecasts expenditure on security software applications through 2008. It states that IT maturity, security awareness, and security adoption rates vary considerably across the region, which has created discrete IT security markets where holistic implementation often takes a backseat to specific threats. “Organisations are nevertheless beginning to take a more proactive approach to IT security,” says Heini Booysen, senior analyst, IDC CEMA’s Software Group. “With more businesses conducting transactions online or via e-mail, continuity has become essential as disruption can result in substantial losses. In the long term, this should translate into approaches that adopt a strategic path rather than an ad-hoc path to implementation of security solutions.” Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ranked first and second in terms of overall investments in security software in the Gulf in 2003. This reflects both their size and their relative level of IT development: Saudi Arabia has the largest population base and has recently been instituting various IT and e-commerce initiatives; the UAE is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the region. Together, these two nations accounted for more than three quarters of the market last year, with the rest of the region’s countries covered in IDC’s study (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar) comprising the rest. As mentioned, secure content management (SCM) dominated the IT security market of the Gulf States in 2003, accounting for more than 60% of total revenue. This figure will drop in the coming years as demand for other security measures picks up speed. Intrusion detection and vulnerability assessment came second, firewall and VPN third, and 3A (authentication, administration, authorisation) fourth last year. “We have seen a notable increase in intrusion detection products across the region,” says Booysen. “But SCM will continue to account for the largest share of the market for the foreseeable future.” Symantec, McAfee (Network Associates), Internet Security Systems (ISS), Trend Micro and Computer Associates together accounted for 70% of spending on IT security software in the Gulf States in 2003. Nevertheless, the market was relatively diffuse, with more than 25 vendors competing for market share. “Although the market is expanding,” says Booysen, “vendors need to get actively involved in educating both channel partners and clients, especially if they want to inform users on the benefits of adopting holistic solutions. Also, as the market matures, consolidation is inevitable, and vendors that plan accordingly will have a competitive advantage.”

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