According to In-Stat/MDR, the sector has boomed as corporates begin to move from product trials to mass deployment of firewall/VPN appliances. The high-tech market research firm found that Secure Socket Layer (SSL) VPN shipments grew at a substantial 160 per cent during 2003 as corporations sought to offer secure remote access to their ever more-mobile work forces.
"Corporations are also migrating from stand-alone perimeter firewall architectures to a multi-layered network security approach where security functions are distributed throughout the network," said Keith Nissen, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR.
"This allows for greater refinement of security policies on a departmental, or even a work group basis."
Integration is also a prevalent trend, according to Nissen, as security features typically found in high-end Firewall/VPN appliances are increasingly integrated in lower-capacity product lines. The study found that these low-end and small-to=medium business (SMB) level products are currently being deployed by enterprises for departments, as well as in remote and branch office networks.
The report predicted that, over the 2004-2008 forecast period, the low end and SMB firewall/VPN appliance product segments would exhibit the highest growth.
Features, such as application proxies, intrusion detection and prevention and content filtering are giving low-end products a more robust security feature set, the analyst firm found.
The In-Stat/MDR study, Firewall/VPN Security Market: Hot...Hot...Hot, noted that, with a substantial concentration of large enterprises employing more than 1,000 staff, North America currently represents approximately half of the market. However, it expects Asia will dominate this market over the next few years.