In the film Field of Dreams, the Ray Kinsella character played by Kevin Costner saves his struggling property by constructing a baseball ground, after obeying a ghostly voice that tells him ‘build it, and they will come’.
I believe the security market is in a similar position. If you prove you can secure it, customers will come. Even in these lean times, customers will pay for solutions that are effective and deliver a clear return. And the demand for security is still strong.
In December 2008, we surveyed hundreds of small, mid-size and large UK businesses on their security budgets, pain points and spending plans for the year.
We asked senior IT staff in the public and private sector what security issues mattered to them.
Sixty-eight per cent of respondents said the current economic climate would not affect their IT security spending.
Five per cent said they expected their security spend to rise. Twenty-seven per cent expected a decrease. So there is still some cash available for the right products.
We also asked about security spending priorities for the coming year. Forty-three per cent named either VPNs or remote access security as top priority.
Data encryption came close behind, as top priority for 35 per cent of respondents. About 27 per cent said securing virtualised environments would be a focus, while intrusion prevention and perimeter security weighed in at 28 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.
I believe that encryption especially will prove fertile ground for the channel. Forty-nine per cent of those polled said they had encryption solutions deployed in their organisations. Some 38 per cent said they did not, and 13 per cent didn’t know if they had any encryption at all.
Encryption deployments have hardly increased at all in the past 13 months, despite all the high-profile data leaks and losses in that time. When we asked a similar survey sample in November 2007 the same question, 48 per cent said they had encryption, and 40 per cent said they did not.
Sixty per cent of respondents to this year’s poll claimed that data security compliance is their top security priority.
Forty-seven per cent of respondents indicated that improving monitoring, reporting and management was high on their business security wish list. Organisations want to do more with what they have.
In Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella only had a disembodied voice to advise him. But these are the views of senior IT staff across a range of organisations. Their opinions suggest there are great opportunities to target new customers and up-sell existing ones.
Partner the right vendor and push the hot buttons indicated. You can secure it. And they will come.
Nick Lowe is managing director for northern Europe at Check Point
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