Nascent WAF market remains fragmented yet demonstrates strong growth potential with market revenue expected to reach US$750.5 million by 2019
The necessity of relying on web applications to drive business processes has given rise to the popularity of Web Application Firewall (WAF) solutions for many organisations in the Asia Pacific region.
Employing web applications allows companies to run their businesses more effectively in several ways, such as enhancing the user experience or reducing overhead costs. This has, in turn, led to an increased possibility of security breaches in the corporate network, especially with cyber attacks becoming more prevalent. A rising number of these sophisticated attacks are also happening at the application level.
As such, enterprises are beginning to acknowledge the limitations of their traditional network firewalls and recognise that these sophisticated threats can only be rectified through the utilisation of a WAF solution.
The shift towards securing web applications is also due to stringent regulatory requirements for client data protection and privacy laws in light of essential services such as Internet banking and e-commerce transactions.
Frost & Sullivan has evaluated the top ten web application firewall vendors in the Asia Pacific region and assessed them using the Frost Industry Quotient (Frost IQ) matrix. The Frost IQ matrix comprises of four quadrants: 'champions','challengers','defenders' and 'explorers'.
The Frost Industry Quotient - Frost IQ, is a proprietary Frost & Sullivan vendor assessment tool that accurately operationalises and captures the merits and challenges faced by technology vendors in their respective segments and geographies. The tool aims to provide key decision makers with a localised yet objective perspective of the industry in a highly heterogeneous business environment.
Frost IQ Matrix: Asia Pacific Web Application Firewall Vendors 2013
In the Frost IQ for Asia Pacific Web Application Firewall Vendors 2013, F5 Networks, Imperva, Penta Security Systems and Barracuda Networks have been positioned in the champions' quadrant, based on a combination of market share performance and future growth strategies as determined by Frost & Sullivan research studies.
WAFs can be largely divided into three forms; standalone WAF appliances, integrated WAF on an Application Delivery Controller (ADC) or software WAF solutions. At present, standalone appliances remain the preferred form factor in the Asia Pacific region, accounting for 77.7 per cent of the market. However, this may change in the future.
Edison Yu, Associate Director, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific says,"Standalone versions are generally perceived as a better option for protecting mission-critical web applications but the cost-effective integrated WAF solutions have been gaining popularity. This is especially so for businesses such as service providers and Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) who appreciate the lower costs and ease of use generated (by integrated WAFs)."
In 2012, the web application firewall market in the Asia Pacific region was largely dominated by four main players in terms of their market share performance; F5 Networks, Imperva, Penta Security Systems and Barracuda Networks. These vendors have not only built up a strong market presence in their respective regions but differentiated themselves through their WAF offerings, such as offering standalone and integrated WAF solutions.
From a future growth perspective, the Frost IQ also recognises the efforts of NSFOCUS, Citrix Systems and Venustech to compete in the Asia Pacific WAF market, be it in product development or market expansion.
Although their presence has been largely limited to local markets, smaller vendors such as Piolink, MonitorApp and Trinity Soft have been progressively increasing their business with hopes of regional expansion.
With more enterprises looking to migrate their key business functions over to the web and utilise web applications to drive business processes, the need for WAF will only become more evident in future.
"As cyber attacks and threats become more sophisticated, enterprises will require the security intelligence and application fluency offered by WAF technology to protect their business-critical web installations from increasingly prevalent application layer attacks," states Yu.
However, the relatively nascent state of the WAF market in the Asia Pacific region means that the competitive landscape remains highly fragmented with potential for growth.
The Frost IQ (FIQ) for Asia Pacific Web Application Firewall Vendors 2013 focuses on web application firewall (WAF) solutions across different form factors in the Asia Pacific region. Market segments evaluated include enterprise horizontals, verticals and service providers. The base year of the study is CY2012. The parameters used to determine relative positioning on the FIQ matrix include market share, product/service strategy, people/skills strategy, ecosystem and business strategy.
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