Network Security Renaissance

Why are large organizations investing so much in such a mature category?

ESG Research indicates that network security spending will be a focus area for 2010. Nearly half (48%) of midsized (i.e. less than 1,000 employees) and enterprise (i.e. more than 1,000 employees) will invest in network security technologies like firewalls, IDS/IPS, gateways, and threat management solutions. Yes, all of these technologies are important components of a defense-in-depth security architecture but they are also quite mature. Why the network security renaissance? Because of: 1. Equipment consolidation. I see lots of organizations replacing individual firewall appliances with big network security gateway products running virtual firewall instances. This simplifies the network and cuts down on software licensing costs. Good news for Check Point, Crossbeam Systems, and Juniper Networks. 2. Network upgrades. There is lots of 10GbE activity in the data center and in network backbone upgrades. Fast network throughput demands new security equipment. Advantage IBM/ISS, McAfee, Sourcefire, and TippingPoint (HP). 3. Integrated security. Most enterprises are replacing stand-alone security devices with more integrated threat management solutions. 4. New threats. The bad guys are way more sophisticated than an IPS device circa 2007. Large organizations need better threat detection, prevention, and mitigation. Furthermore, network security must work as a team with desktop, server, messaging, and other security defenses. With all of this activity many networking vendors stand to benefit. Cisco and Juniper have great network security stories that interoperate with their core networking products. HP will pick up TippingPoint with 3Com but it needs to build an architectural story quickly. Brocade is working with partners and must continue to make this a core part of its value. Other networking vendors need to make similar moves. Security gets more complex each day so state-of-the-art devices may have a short shelf life. Expect continuous investment in network security moving forward. Networking vendors that recognize this will put themselves in the best position.

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