Downhill drag

Security channel suffers sales slump.
Downhill drag
By Andrew Seymour
Wed 11 Nov 2009 04:00 AM

Security channel suffers sales slump.

Security vendors are commonly heard declaring that their line of business is one area that end-users dare not cut back on, however precarious their financial position.

But that message clearly hasn't resonated as loudly as they might think following research that shows the value of the EMEA security market tailed off almost 5% to US$2.1 billion during the first half of the year. It is the first time that the security channel has witnessed such a sharp decline in eight years, according to market analysis firm Canalys.

Canalys says security appliances were an area of particular disappointment during the first six months of the year, with enterprises attempting to make do with their existing hardware infrastructures. "Many are extending appliance lives to five or even seven years while also moving to OPEX-based expenditure," observed Nikki Babatola, analyst at Canalys.

The appliance market declined 8% in value, with category leader Cisco experiencing a drop of almost 28% - the biggest faller among the top five vendors.

Canalys says it has struggled to convert its legacy PIX firewall customers to its Adaptive Security Appliance range of integrated threat management solutions.It claims that as the Cisco PIX appliance range comes to the end of its life, some of its customers are opting for the high-performance features being offered by the ever-growing list of specialist security vendors, such as Palo Alto Networks.

Security software sales, meanwhile, declined 9% as a steep reduction in PC sales - to which client security is closely linked - proved harmful. McAfee, the number one client security software vendor, lost sight of its client security business as it worked during the second quarter to integrate the acquisitions it has made in its network security and SaaS business units, according to Canalys.

"Many of McAfee's traditional anti-malware channel partners felt frustrated by McAfee's attempts to push appliances at them," commented Babatola. "Malware software partners have often made a strategic decision not to sell hardware and McAfee's approach should recognise that," she said.

Despite the setbacks, Canalys insists security grew as a share of total IT budgets. It also fared better than the networking and unified communications markets, which fell 21% and 33% respectively. Canalys expects investments in content security technologies to drive the EMEA market during the remainder of the year.

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