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Net-Security Appliances Are Popping

Enterprise customers last year moved from product trials to in-service deployments of firewall/VPN and secure content management (SCM) security appliances, producing large gains for such vendors` as Cisco and Nokia, according to recent analyst reports.

A study by In-Stat/MDR attributed the 27 percent jump in firewall/VPN appliance sales mainly to adoption by large enterprise customers, although organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees also reported deploying solutions. And the demands of the increasingly mobile workforce led to a stunning 160 percent jump in Secure Socket Layer VPN shipments.

Meanwhile, a study by IDC showed dramatic growth for the SCM-appliance market in 2003--an 89 percent increase over 2002, for a final tally of just under $131 million. IDC research manager Brian Burke said that new documented risks to corporate messaging systems are emerging every day, contributing to the surge of interest in appliances. SCM vendor CipherTrust recently reported that its sales in this market grew by 160 percent.

Following the recommendation of most security experts, the In-Stat/MDR research revealed that enterprises are moving away from standalone perimeter firewall architectures to layered security approaches.

In this model, departments and branch-office locations are deploying "low-end and small-medium business-level" products as part of the overall enterprise strategy. At the same time, the lower-end solutions are increasingly gaining features, such as application proxies and intrusion detection and prevention, which used to be found only in the largest, more expensive appliances--a market that Cisco and Nokia dominated last year.

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