Tonight playing the role of Carnac the Magnificent, . . .
take your pick. Stiennon, Rothman, Rob Newby from over in Spain or how about yours truly. To me, whenever I see people trying to make long range predictions of what is going to happen in any market, I think Johnny Carson probably had as good a chance of being right than any of these understudies. In my mind there is the next 24 to 36 months. Beyond that is better left to Nostradamus, Carnac and the like. Who knows what kind of devices we will be using for access by then. This alone makes it hard to predict that far out.
However, let me audition for the role here a bit. I agree with Richard on two things. First of all I don't think innovation is dead in security. I think venture money may be harder to come by for security start ups, but there are lots of ideas out there for new security methods and even more ideas to combine existing security technologies in ways that have not been done before and will result in more effective and efficient security. I also agree with Richard that security as a service is going to be hot. However, I have seen this pendulum swing before. I think services will heat up and then over time cool off, as people realize it is not any cheaper and gives them less control over their own security. A fact of life is that as the mice get smarter, we need smarter mouse traps. This is also a fact of life in security. As the bad guys figure out new vectors in, we have to figure out smarter ways of preventing and detecting them.
I disagree with Mike and Richard that security as a stand alone goes away. I think there are going to be pure play security companies that specialize in protection. I think that there will always be smaller security companies getting swallowed up by the bigger boys. This sort of farm league of security allows the bigger companies to buy innovation, rather than having to innovate themselves. Many larger technology companies are going to want in on the security market, so you may seem them entering the market via acquisition like EMC a few years back.
I totally agree with Rob Newby about a generic platform on generic hardware "that we can turn into whatever device we want, anywhere in the network". That actually sounds very much like Cobia. I think virtualization and multi-core technology is going to make that happen. I also think open source and "freemium" applications are going to make themselves felt in security, even more than now. Of course convergence with networking will make security more ubiquitous, but it will not just be blended in.
Beyond that, your guess is probably as good as mine. One thing for sure though is that don't worry about Rothman or me, we will find a way to to live off of the fat of the land somehow.