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Safety first at Gitex 2006

The Middle East has become the second biggest spender in the world when it comes to IT security, after racking up a bill of more than US$4.7 billion in 2005.

The Middle East has become the second biggest spender in the world when it comes to IT security, after racking up a bill of more than US$4.7 billion in 2005.

The figures from IDC market research show that the region saw a 15.6% increase in security expenditure in 2005 from the previous year.

The report also predicts that these figures will reach in excess of $5.6 billion in 2006 and $9.3 billion in 2009.

As a result, Gitex 2006 at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), 18-22 November, is set to have a strong focus on IT security and related services to help boost the market for security awareness.

DWTC director general, Helal Saeed Al Marri, said: “Having emerged rapidly, the Middle East, especially UAE, has been an eager adopter of the latest in technology, especially IT security technologies and products.

“Companies have been actively incorporating security mechanisms across their enterprise and Gitex 2006 will help to speed up the pace of investments and also create a platform for visitors from other Middle East countries to take advantage of the technology spread available.”

Some of the top security vendors have made their presence felt over the years at the exhibition, including Symantec, Trend Micro and SonicWall.

Symantec says it has achieved a 10-fold return on investment by appearing at last year’s Gitex and they are keen to make the most of the exhibition again this year.

“Besides achieving return on investment, Gitex is also a time to give a clear message to customers and partners about our commitment,” said Symantec regional director MEA, Kevin Issac.

“In terms of the region and its importance, the investments going on makes this market an extremely interesting one.”

Among the key areas of interest this year will be the gateway appliances market, especially the Unified Threat Management (UTM) products, network security technologies, messaging security, data encryption, identity management, data backup and recovery.

Security solutions delivered as hardware appliances in particular are expected to be a major push at the show this year. This trend is also likely to extend the market for security products and technologies well into the SMB market.

IDC believes that over the next five years the revenue generated by the sale of UTM security appliances will exceed that of standard firewall/Virtual Private Networks and 80% of all network security solutions will be delivered via a dedicated appliance by 2007.

Vendors such as Fortinet, SonicWall and Secure Computing who are participating at Gitex 2006 are planning to capitalise on this trend and showcase their UTM products.

SonicWall expect to showcase our range of e-mail security, data backup and disaster recovery products in line with the IT security spending trends in the region. The UTM market is also one area that may get strong customer attention at the show.

Shahnawaz Sheikh, regional sales manager, said: “Government bodies and companies across the Middle East recognise the importance of protecting their IT systems from threats.”

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