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Security Appliance Market Growth Slowed in Q3 2012, Says IDC

Cisco remained the leader in the overall security appliance in the third quarter of 2012, according to the latest market numbers from International Data Corporation (IDC). Unified Threat Management appliances accounted for the majority of growth over the quarter.

The top five global vendors, Cisco, Check Point, Juniper, Fortinet, and McAfee, represented 48.5 percent of the security appliance market in the third quarter of 2012, IDC said in the latest numbers released Jan. 2. While Cisco maintained its lead with a 16.2 percent market share, its third quarter 2012 revenue dropped 1.5 percent from revenue third quarter 2011, when it accounted for 17.3 percent of the market. Check Point improved its position slightly, edging up to 12.8 percent market share in third quarter 2012, as its revenues grew 12.8 percent year-over-year.

Juniper dropped from its 9 percent share in 2011 to 7.9 percent in third quarter 2012 as revenues declined 6.4 percent. Fortinet had the largest revenue growth among the top five vendors in IDC's analysis, as it recorded a 17.2 percent revenue growth in third quarter 2012, improving its market position to 5.9 percent, compared to 5.4 percent from the previous year. McAfee's market position remained unchanged at 5.7 percent, although revenue did go up 5.3 percent.

"While the security market remains more resilient than others, there was a definite slow-down in growth rates in the third quarter," John Grady, research manager of security products at IDC, said in a statement.

The remaining vendors, accounting for 51.5 percent of the market, collectively recorded $1 billion in revenue in third quarter 2012, a 7.4 percent increase from the comparable period in 2011, according to IDC's numbers.

"The share of 'Others' increased primarily due to strong quarters from Palo Alto Networks and Sourcefire," IDC said.

Globally, factory revenue was up 5.7 percent, to just over $2 billion, in the third quarter of 2012, according to IDC. The Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, had the fastest growth in revenue, with a 13.3 percent year-over-year increase, while Western Europe had the slowest, with just 0.5 percent year-over-year. Despite the drop in shipments, the U.S. still recorded a 4.6 percent revenue growth.

The revenue growth and decline in shipments in the U.S. indicated some softness in lower price bands and that revenue growth was primarily driven by larger enterprises and service providers, IDC said.

Shipments grew 1 percent, to 499,022 units, in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the previous year, IDC found. Japan had the highest unit growth, an increase of 8.3 percent year-over-year, followed by the combination of Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa, with 7.9 percent unit growth year-over -year. The United States bucked the growth trend, with number of units shipped dropping 1.2 percent compared to third quarter 2011.

"The evolving threat landscape continues to drive spending on security products as organizations battle to keep their infrastructures secure and their data protected," Grady said.

The Unified Threat Management (UTM) segment dominated the market in the third quarter 2012, accounting for 33.3 of security appliance revenues, IDC said. UTM revenues grew 24.3 percent compared to the same period in 2011. The Firewall/VPN market accounted for 26.7 percent of security appliance revenue, with a 7.3 percent revenue growth in the third quarter. IDC said the Firewall/VPN growth was driven primarily by Cisco and Juniper.

The Intrusion Prevention Systems segment was the only market segment to decline in revenue from third quarter 2011, IDC said.

"The shift in network security for continuous security processes in detecting threats that other solutions miss is leading the move for unified security management for protection against advanced threats, modern malware, and data theft," said Ebenezer Obeng-Nyarkoh, an IDC senior research analyst for the Worldwide Trackers Group.

Fahmida Y. Rashid is a Senior Contributing Writer for SecurityWeek. She has experience writing and reviewing security, core Internet infrastructure, open source, networking, and storage. Before setting out her journalism shingle, she spent nine years as a help-desk technician, software and Web application developer, network administrator, and technology consultant.