Security software's a booming market. Why is Symantec stumbling?

Data breaches drive increased security spend

Worldwide security software revenue totalled $21.4bn in 2014, a 5.3 per cent increase from 2013's revenue of $20.3bn, according to the serious bean counters at Gartner.

A decline in consumer security software and endpoint protection — areas that together account for 39 per cent of the market — was more than offset the strong performance of high-growth areas, such as security information and event management (SIEM), secure web gateways, identity governance and data loss prevention.

Symantec was once again the largest security software vendor by revenue, even though the company suffered its second consecutive year of revenue decline, down 1.3 per cent to $3.7bn, according to Gartner's numbers.

A 6.2 per cent decrease in the consumer security software segment (which accounts for 53 per cent of Symantec's security software revenue) was the primary cause of the decline in overall revenue growth.

By contrast, IBM in particular showed solid growth in 2014, with revenues growing 17 per cent in 2014 to reach $1.5bn.

Big Blue's SIEM software products (aka security dashboards) grew 21 per cent, driven by strong adoption of this category of products by organisations and managed security service providers alike.

Security software revenue for second-placed Intel (McAfee) — Symantec's long-time arch-rival — grew 4.6 per cent in 2014 to reach $1.8bn. Intel Security was able to book sales in other areas that more than offset a decline in sales of traditional anti-virus.

Trend Micro (with sales of $1.05bn) and EMC ($798m in revenue) made up the other big hitters in the fragmented security software market. Others booked $12.6bn in sales, more than half the whole market.

Gartner also looked into the future prospect of fashionable security technologies. The DLP (data loss/leak prevention) market grew 15.8 per cent year on year, to reach $643m in revenue in 2014, primarily due to a decent showing from Symantec in this segment, which accounts for nearly half of the total market.

Garner predicted the days of double-digit growth are over for the market segment. The SIEM market grew 11 per cent in 2014 to reach $1.6bn in revenue.

The strong focus on threat detection and response from security buyers contributed to the strong showing of this market segment, according to Gartner. ®

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