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June 09, 2007

Is the security industry growing up? The age of Security Amalgamated

Mark Wood over at the nCircle 360 Security blog has an article about his recent impressions at the Gartner IT Security Summit.  Mark's impression is that the Gartner show (which I am not sure is the 2nd biggest security event of the year) is a great way to gauge the industry.  Where last year the show floor was packed with NAC companies and data leakage vendors, this years there were almost no NAC vendors and fewer data leakage vendors then he expected.  No one type of security solution dominated.  I agree with Mark that at the past few security shows I have attended (I did not bother with the Gartner show this year, but more on that later), there has been less of a dominance of one type of security solution over others.

I think the reason behind the lack of NAC vendors and fewer data leakage vendors is another reason though.  That is the value of appearing at the Gartner show for these vendors.  I know we looked at the Gartner show and have in years past.  Frankly, the cost compared to other marketing events is prohibitive and I think it is more an insider show then one geared at customers. You have RSA and then we just finished a big show at Interop, have a NAC event with Networking Computing in NY on the 19th and already Black Hat for August 1.  The lack of some vendors at Gartner is more a function of how many security shows there are competing for marketing budgets.  I think many NAC vendors are busy trying to hunt down business and with limited event budgets, the Gartner show is just not cost effective.  Most of these vendors already pay Gartner for their advice through the year and the prices for exhibiting there don't make a lot of sense.  In years past I attended the show just to network and we did not have a booth for that reason.

I think this is also the reason Mark saw lots of new vendors.  Flush with new funds they are seeking to "be seen" at an event like Gartner, but they too will learn to spend their marketing dollars more wisely. I think only half a dozen new names is about right.  Venture funding in security is getting tighter, but there is always room for a few good new companies.

I also am not sure that "magic bullets" and "you need me now or else" marketing pitches are done.  I still think most security companies struggle making their products a "must have" rather than a "nice to have".  Maybe they were subdued at Gartner, but am sure they will be hawking their wares at other shows this way and in other forms of marketing. 

I think the next wave of "you can't live without it" security will be "amalgamated security". By this I mean multi-solution security in one program.  McAfee EPO, Symantec Hamlet, Microsoft Stirling, Big Fix IT next, the list goes on and on.  It is more than just a suite of security, it is one program offering everything.  Customers have indicated they want less agents, less space being taken up and more functionality from fewer vendors.  The result is amalgamation.  The question is does this offer an adequate level of security at performance levels that are acceptable.  That is the real question to me.

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» Gartner Solutions Expo a Good Gauge of the Security Industry? from Rational Security
Mark Wood from nCircle blogged about his recent experience at the Gartner IT Security Summit in D.C. Alan Shimmel commented on Mark's summary and both of them make an interesting argument about how Gartner operates as the overall gauge of [Read More]

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