ANALYST REPORT: Corporate Australia Places Security Centre Stage

Over the past 12 to 18 months, IDC has witnessed a major shift in the role security plays within Australasian organisations. No longer just a peripheral technology, security is becoming a critical enabler of business continuity, and is directly linked to the survivability of an organisation.

This in turn is translating into direct expenditure on security technologies and solutions.

In a recent IDC study, Australian business and IT leaders representing medium and large organisations were asked to rank the importance of IT security to their organisation. Ninety per cent of respondents surveyed rated security as either “very important” or “important”. Governments, business and individuals are moving forward with a heightened sense of security and the inherent interdependent responsibilities. These results show an increase in corporate awareness surrounding security threats plus a more mature understanding of the role technology can play in combating threats.

This change in perception is having a direct impact on levels of investment in security technologies and related services that are intended to facilitate appropriate and sustainable security solutions for each enterprise. In too many situations, the existing security environment has been exposed as limited. The absence of broader architectural approaches is also becoming evident.

Key trends driving demand

IDC research indicates the following key trends are driving demand for security solutions by Australian organisations:

Increased Internet/intranet usage: The number one factor driving increased activity in security is a growth in Internet and intranet usage. While early Internet usage centred on information sharing and website access, the Internet environment now provides the platform for many e-business activities. Suppliers, customers and employees are blended into an integrated IP-based business fabric supported by a growing array of data sources, applications, transaction types and resources. This evolution of network usage has expanded security requirements exponentially, making it a key driver in the growth of the security market in Australasia.

Mobile computing: As consumers and companies look for better ways to transfer data and conduct transactions, the mobile environment will become increasingly attractive. IDC believes security will be paramount in this area. As mobile Internet expands beyond early adopters and rolls into the enterprise and general-consumer markets, mobile security will become an increasingly hot issue. Enterprises need to weigh the benefits of mobile access for employees against the potential threat of opening yet another channel to the sensitive data contained on their networks.

The prominence of these trends in driving security investments points to a major change in the dynamics influencing or driving investment in IT security solutions. Historically, investment in security has been very reactive.

Today there is a very different landscape emerging. While major security breaches and the threat of malicious damage still rank as a driver for IT security investments, their importance is declining. Instead, organisations are adopting a more proactive mindset and designing security architectures that address longer-term business objectives.

Brooke Galloway is Research Director for IDC Australia.

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