However, vendors are improving their firewall solutions to meet customer needs and address the constantly changing threats.
Enterprise network environments have continued to evolve due to the proliferation of mobile computing devices, increased interconnectivity with Web 2.0 technologies, convergence trends, and emerging technologies such as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), virtualization, and cloud computing. These technologies open up new attack vectors that the security industry and customers must address.
The firewall forms the cornerstone of any security infrastructure as it is the first line of defense for enterprise networks and fulfills basic regulatory requirements. As one of the original security technologies, the market is currently very large and continues to grow.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (networksecurity.frost.com), World Firewall Products Market - Evolution to Fourth Generation Firewalls, finds that the market earned revenues of over $2.95 billion in 2009 and estimates this to reach $4.63 billion in 2016.
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"The firewall's ability to define and defend a network perimeter has earned itself a reputation as an indispensable security product," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Chris Rodriguez. "While this reputation has helped the market grow in the past, participants must step up efforts to innovate to ensure growth levels resume their upward trajectory."
The economic recession tightened security budgets in 2009 and this state is expected to continue in 2010, as customers remain cautious. Despite the resilience of the security industry, this restraint will be most pronounced in the immediate future before tapering off.
High barriers to entry characterize the market. In 2009, there were more than 30 competitors, down from 40 in 2008 and 60 in 2007. The market share held by the top five competitors had increased to 72.2 percent in 2009, indicating that it is difficult for new entrants to enter this market.
Technology maturity and a high level of product diffusion have slackened growth in recent years. Moreover, customers already have firewall solutions deployed and feel little motivation to invest in a new firewall solution anytime soon. They are awaiting network refresh cycles to replace or upgrade their firewalls, thereby causing a steady decline in market growth. Participants must work toward changing these attitudes to enable quality products to succeed in this marketplace.
Vendors are striving to add new functionality in recognition of the fact that traditional port and protocol-based filtering is becoming less effective in the changing threat landscape. "The firewall initially underwent much change and innovation, with multiple product methodologies developed in a short span of a few years," explains Rodriguez. "Since then, vendors have introduced new features, but customers have essentially been using inspection firewalls for over a decade."
Features such as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), load balancing, and VoIP support are commonly included and new capabilities such as application- and identity-based filtering are now being introduced. This will provide better protection for customers while reinvigorating customer demand for the technology.
This fourth generation of technologies holds the most potential for the firewall market, and vendors will continue to evaluate new ways to remain relevant in the long term.
World Firewall Products Market - Evolution to Fourth Generation Firewalls is part of the Network Security Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: World Vulnerability Assessment Products Market, World Unified Threat Management (UTM) Products Market, and World Unified Threat Management (UTM) Products Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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