Future of security services bright, says report

According to a report entitled Worldwide and U.S. Information Security Forecast, 2003 to 2007 released by Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp. (IDC) Tuesday, the information security services industry continues to grow in a time when other IT service industries are feeling the pinch.

IDC predicts that worldwide information security services (ISS) spending will increase to more than US$23.5 billion by 2007, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.9 per cent.

Allan Carey, program manager for ISS at IDC said that this increase in spending reflects the fact that security is still an important subject for IT professionals.

“Even though the IT market overall had lack-lustre results, security is still top of mind for many IT and business executives given the amount of thread activity that has increased over the year and [also given the fact that companies] are trying to better protect their assets and their intellectual property,” Carey said.

According to IDC, although spending is up, ISS providers will have to demonstrate differentiated value in order to be chosen by enterprises.

“Over the past 18 months we’ve seen a consolidation in the marketplace. One of the results of that consolidation is that there is less noise regarding what value security service providers’ deliver to their clients. In other words, because the market was so fragmented, it was hard for a customer to identify what exactly a security service provider delivered in the marketplace,” Carey said. “So having a differentiated strategy that illustrates value through verticalization of their solutions with business case studies, for example, would help a security services provider illustrate that they have the expertise and the competency to deliver security solutions to meet a company’s specific industry requirements.”

Carey said that within the study, Canada is grouped in with the Americas, which is the largest region in the world for ISS spending.

He added that the Canadian market for ISS in 2003 is estimated at $303 million, “and IDC believes the market will grow to $685 million in 2007.”

Carey added that Europe the Middle East and African (EMEA) regions came in on the low end of ISS spending at 34 per cent, followed by the Asia Pacific region with 12 per cent.

According to IDC, the key trends driving the increasing demand for ISS include continued popularity of services that focus on improving return on investment (ROI) and making security more manageable; increasing demand for wireless and application security solutions including assessments, architecture design and implementation; and sustained outsourcing of security strategy planning, application security testing, managed security services and business continuity, disaster recovery and incident preparedness.

Carey said that the adoption of security services is still on the rise in part because “many companies have not really gotten their arms around what their security requirements [entail] and what some of the best practises [would be] to properly secure their infrastructure.”

He added that if vendors want to stay alive and successfully compete in the ISS industry, they are going to have to continue educating their customers on the importance of security and raising their customers’ level of awareness about security.

“[ISS providers should] develop a portfolio of security solutions that would enable their customers to engage with them at any particular point to address their security requirements,” Carey said, “and deliver security solutions that meet specific security requirements within special vertical industries [such as] financial services, health care and government.”

IDC can be found online at www.idc.com.