Data leakage prevention becomes a feature

DLP on track to becoming a feature rather than a stand-alone platform

"These bigger players are going to have a much tougher time trying to realign their entire business around data security since they've been married to all these other product lines for so long," he said. "The stronger point providers will be acquired, and everyone who doesn't have all the necessary pieces of DLP will be wiped out, but there's a lot of room for those of us who are already doing it the right way today."

Other stand-alone vendors admitted that there is probably value to be found in arguments for both independent and integrated DLP systems.

"The answer is that we will probably see escalation of both models," said David Etue, vice president of product management at Fidelis Security, another independent DLP vendor.

"Some of early DLP market success stories were people were who built more of a feature, and I'm not sure if it was their strategy, but they built something that easily became a feature of other things," he said. "At the same time, we obviously believe that those of us who sell a real DLP platform today continue to have a strong opportunity."

Other analysts contend that the stand-alone DLP market does in fact have sustainability but claim that there will only be a few players-- those who have mastered the policy management and enforcement pieces specifically -- who will survive and potentially flourish.

At this point, any company whose products do not offer that level of functionality are probably living on borrowed time, said Rich Mogull, a longtime analyst at Gartner who recently launched his own consulting firm, Securosis.

In the case of the larger vendors such as Symantec, the analyst said that the company will integrate its DLP tools with other products, while also marketing the policy management and enforcement aspect of the technology as a stand-alone product.

"There are a lot of elements of content monitoring and protection that can be integrated on the firewall, the end point, or in e-mail, and those more narrow providers who address only those things will probably go away," Mogull said. "For Symantec to connect Vontu's DLP to its end-point products makes sense, but there's still a market for the technologies used to create, manage, and enforce the policy, something for all these other systems to plug back into."

"The independent companies who already have a platform and can address the high-level business problems of protecting data will likely be the ones who get acquired next," he said. "But there's probably only a dozen or so left like that, because many of the companies that have identified themselves as DLP only solve a small part of the problem."

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