More big players jostle for position in SCM field

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The numbers are staggering, yet not wholly unbelievable given the requirement to manage corporate data. SCM vendors will keep earning as companies need help countering evolving attack methods. Internet Security Systems (ISS) recently announced the launch of its Proventia software for anti-spam and content management. The solutions are additions to the ISS' Proventia internet security products and are a result of its acquisition of Cobion AG completed earlier this year. What is so intriguing about it all is the company's statement that the new product "positions ISS to lead the content security market."

After reviewing the IDC report and talking to customers and vendors, it might be tougher for ISS than its marketing language indicates. Strong players have lead positions and IDC analysts state that the popularity of all-in-one SCM appliances is on the rise since such boxes reduce complexity and are more quickly installed than software. Leading vendors such as Blue Coat Systems, Network Associates, CipherTrust, Vericept and 8e6 Technologies, made $108.5 million in 2002 alone. Meanwhile, AV software made up the largest share of the SCM market, hitting $2.2 billion (81 percent of the total market) while web filtering software was second at $270 million.

The problem with SCM solutions, according to Pete Privateer, senior vice-president of global marketing and product strategy of ISS, is that customers must buy six or more products from six or more vendors to get the internet security they need. "Each product requires a separate installation and configuration, separate management console, and separate people to manage them... While best-of-breed legacy products may continue to thrive for some time, a new approach is emerging which combines all these internet security technologies into one package with one management interface, one installation and configuration," he said. And as for the "converged security appliance," his firm built a product to include "best-of-breed VPN, firewall, anti-virus, intrusion protection, application control, content filtering, and email security." It is, he added, "a simple, easy-to-use product with a price performance nearly a third its competition and the ability to protect better than multiple point products."

ISS, conspicuously absent from the IDC report, could jolt SCM leaders – especially since the market is set for bullish growth. With such an IT security heavyweight making an aggressive play for a segment of the market, it'll be interesting to watch the SCM space.


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