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The Data Security Market is Big and Getting Bigger

written by: Chris Orr•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 7/14/2011

With the recent press around the breaches at Sony Entertainment and Wiki Leaks, the data security market continues to grow its share of information technology budgets.

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    The Continuing Threat of Cyber Crime

    The growth of the information technology and communications market has driven a growth of the data security market. According the the 2011 Verizon Data Breach Investigations report (released in 2010) over 4 million records were stolen as a result of various forms of cyber crime. This number is significantly lower than the previous two years but still consist of a large amount of personal data. The report itself was released prior to the recent events around the Lulzsec attacks on the Sony Entertainment Network where nearly 100 million records were stolen or put at risk in a series of attacks.

    These statistics provided by Verizon and other research organizations drive much of the justifications by organizations to continue to beef up the offerings of the information technology security departments. While traditional security products such as firewalls and network intrusion detection continue to drive much of the market, larger technology companies have snapped up many smaller security companies to provide suites of products to offer to their customers.

    The question is not: What is the size of the data security market? But rather: How big will the data security market get?

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    IT Security: A Recession Proof Market

    ABI Research released 2010 data indicating that despite the recession which began in 2008, the global information security market grew 11 percent which represented over 6 billion dollars. Improvements in router security, unified threat management and virtual private network technology allowed businesses to replace aging and vulnerable technology.

    The push into cloud-based services put pressure on hosting companies to provide secure methods of providing services to businesses and customers. The rapid proliferation of smartphones and Internet connected mobile devices in the hands of employees, executives and contractors, puts sensitive corporate information at risk and provides additional impetus for businesses to take measures to protect critical data. ABI puts the expected volume of global security sales to reach over 10 billion dollars by year 2016 as a result.

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    A Focus on Mobile Data Security

    The mobile data security market alone was responsible for over 30 million dollars in revenue. Companies such as Trend Micro and Lookout provide software security suites for smartphones using the Google Android operating system. Other companies provide data security software for iPhones and iPads.

    Each of these applications and suites are designed to prevent the increasing numbers of hackers and cyber criminals from gaining access to corporate data from these vulnerable devices. While the 2011 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report did not credit any record loss to mobile devices, they do expect their attractiveness as a threat vector to grow.

    The research firm Goode Intelligence predicts the mobile data security market to exceed 161 million dollars by year 2015. Gartner and Forrester expect the data leakage or data loss prevention portion of the mobile market to exceed between 200 billion and 300 billion dollars this year alone.

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    Compliance as a Driver for the Data Security Market

    Sony provides an example of the credit card industry's attempt to make transactions more secure. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard requires companies that process credit cards to achieve and maintain an acceptable level of information technology security. With over 100 million records and tens of thousands of credit card records stolen, Sony is on the hook for fines from the credit card companies in addition to the potential lawsuits, and monetary losses due to bad publicity.

    Internal loss is another factor driving the growth of the data security market. With the recession leading to layoffs, pay cuts and unemployment, companies are concerned with the loss of data from trusted sources. Laptops, desktops and mobiles devices provide employees access to corporate data. That data is easily lost when the laptop leaves with a fired employee, or a USB stick with a credit card database is sold to augment a smaller paycheck.

    In addition to PCI, government regulations and other industry requirements are expected to drive the data loss prevention and compliance segment of the market to over 1 billion dollars.

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    Software Companies in the Data Security Market

    So, what's the size of the data security market? The growth of the data security market provides fertile ground for startup security companies to get their products in the marketplace while larger software vendors such as Symantec and McAfee acquire smaller vendors to bolster their own product offerings. McAfee's acquisition of Solidcore and other companies illustrates the need to move beyond traditional antivirus and firewalls as a means to protect networks. Even services organizations such as IBM Global Services and hardware vendors like HP have bought security software vendors to include in their portfolios of security products and to snap up their share of the data security market.

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    Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report:

    "Enterprise network and data security market to reach $10 Bln by 2016: ABI research" CBI Staff Writer, January 11, 2011:

    "Mobile Data Security Solutions Market Gaining More Attention" Simply Security, July 8, 2011:

    "Vulnerabilities, regulatory compliance drive data protection market" Neil Roiter. July 15, 2009:

    "Sony Hacked Again; 25 million Entertainment Users' Info at Risk" Jason Schreier, May 2, 2011:

    Image Credit: Master isolated images /