Unified Threat Management Market Poised for Growth, Report Finds

A report from Frost & Sullivan finds further expansion into the enterprise is critical for unified threat management (UTM) vendors.

Since its inception, the world unified threat management (UTM) products market has witnessed high growth rates and, despite the harsh economic conditions of 2009, the UTM market grew at a healthy rate.

During 2008, the market witnessed a growth rate of 32.2 percent; however, the growth rate dropped to 20.1 percent in 2009 due to the recession. As the market rebounds, Frost & Sullivan predicts growth rates will increase in 2010 and 2011 before leveling off. Vendors in this space are seeking to invigorate this market with expansions in terms of both regional and target markets.
Analysis from Frost & Sullivan's World UTM Products Market report found that the market earned revenues of over $1.97 billion in 2009 and estimated that this figure will reach approximately $7 billion in 2016. Company analysts said UTM's strongest value proposition lies in its ability to consolidate multiple security products. UTM seeks to combine essential and common security functions such as firewall/virtual private network (VPN), intrusion prevention system (IPS), anti-spam, antivirus, content filtering, and even data leakage protection (DLP) and vulnerability management capabilities.
The firm said despite these advantages, the best-of-breed functionality offered by competing point products continues to deter customers. Additionally, it is a challenge to enable multiple security functions on a single appliance without impeding network performance. These issues cause UTM vendors to experience difficulty in penetrating the enterprise market. Furthermore, customers are exercising caution while considering investment and are waiting for a more stable economic climate.
"This aligns well with the larger trend of convergence in the network security industry, as customer demand for a one-stop shop continues to increase," says Frost & Sullivan research analyst Chris Rodriguez. "Investing in several point products, including installation and support, is an expensive proposition. Consolidating these products reduces costs and accelerates green initiatives by reducing power consumption."
Rodriguez said further acceptance into the enterprise segment is crucial for sustained long-term growth. To do this, vendors looking to penetrate this market must strive to offer best-of-breed functionality. While many UTM solutions are based on open-source software security solutions, and although this helps to keep overhead costs down, uptake has been slow in the enterprise arena, he noted.
"UTM vendors have been working toward expediting functionality and performance through in-house research and development, strategic partnerships, and acquisitions. While UTM meets the needs of smaller organizations nicely, these solutions have previously been lacking in enterprise-level performance and features," said Rodriguez. "Vendors that can continue to innovate and successfully convey these improvements to customers will succeed in rapidly growing market share."
Frost & Sullivan's report also predicted small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) and remote/branch/small/home office (ROBO/SOHO) products will remain as a key segment of the UTM market. These customers will continue to value broader product coverage and cost-effective solutions. Rodriguez said the market is extremely vertical-independent as UTM integrates security technologies that are in demand across all industry verticals, so vendors must roll out solutions that address pertinent issues in different verticals, such as regulatory compliance, networking challenges or security threats.