Unceasing Spate of Content Threats to Drive Uptake of Content Filtering Solutions
London, 30th March 2005-Â¦..Heightened awareness about the need to protect their networks and computers not just from virus attacks but from other content threats as well, is encouraging enterprises to adopt content filtering solutions. This is transforming content filtering into one of the fastest growing markets in the security arena.
The rapid emergence of spyware, phising attacks, adware and especially spam is motivating the development of related content filtering solutions. At the same time, the need to protect sensitive corporate information from being accessed or disseminated by employees, avoid becoming subject to data mining by rival companies and prevent the misuse of the Internet by employees is adding impetus to the search for effective content filters.
However, the principal cause for using content filtering is expected to be its ability to increase productivity and, therefore, reduce costs. “Despite the benefits it offers in terms of enhanced services and information, the Internet poses a downside as it can be used at work for unsolicited purposes,” explains Frost & Sullivan (http://www.internetsecurity.frost.com) Senior Industry Analyst Jose Lopez.
“Moreover, the unstoppable torrent of spam messages – thought to represent up to 80 per cent of all e-mails sent – has convinced decision makers to invest in content filtering solutions, especially given the quick return on investment (ROI) that these solutions can bring to their businesses.”
At the same time, content filters are being regarded as a way of evading costly lawsuits. For instance, URL blocking and e-mail content filtering are likely to help companies support the legitimate use of the Internet for business purposes while disclaiming responsibility for employees accessing offensive material at the workplace.
In regional terms, the United States accounts for nearly two thirds of the $996.6 world markets for content filtering solutions followed by Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia Pacific (APAC) and Latin America. However, a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.7 per cent over the period 2003-2010 is likely to help EMEA narrow the gap and push the region’s revenues from current estimates of $246.8 million to $1,054.2 million in 2010.
Even as the European market becomes increasingly concerned with spam and other emerging content threats such as spyware and phising, there still remains a need for many more enterprises to understand the benefits of deploying content filtering solutions, not only for e-mail but also for the Web.
Growing strongly, the e-mail filtering segment is expected to represent 72.4 per cent of EMEA content filtering market revenues by 2010. “Unlike other security technologies, Web filtering has not gained acceptance in most European countries, although vendors are trying to change this situation by including extensive databases in the local languages,” notes Mr. Lopez. “E-mail filtering, however, has achieved a more widespread demand driven by media exposure to spam and the existence of some well-established participants in the region.”
Within EMEA, the highest demand has been from western Europe. Widespread press coverage of Internet misuse coupled with content filtering solutions in local English and German languages have contributed to particularly strong uptake in the United Kingdom and Germany. This is creating a clear case for solutions to be developed in other languages and markets.
New EU members have shown limited interests in content filtering – a situation expected to persist until clear EU legislation is introduced. Europe is now looking to follow in the footsteps of the United States and implement legislation that specifically addresses content filtering issues. This is critical since the current EU Data Protection Act does not satisfactorily tackle the issues of Internet mismanagement and access. Several initiatives aimed at stopping spam such as European Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail (EuroCAUCE) are now set to create a stronger and more supportive regulatory environment.
A key challenge for the future centres on the over-effectiveness of filtering technology where even sites that have educational value may be indiscriminately filtered out. “Such “false positives’ pose a critical challenge to filter vendors and need to be a focal point for research and development initiatives,” cautions Mr. Lopez.
In addition, companies with tight security budgets are likely to opt for more basic security technologies such as firewalls and anti-virus solutions rather than prioritise content filtering technologies. Here, bundling content filtering technology with other technologies is likely to promote their uptake. For instance, URL blocking and e-mail filtering technology can now be found in routers and firewalls, while keyword detection technology is bundled with anti-virus programmes.
The almost continuous appearance of new types of content threats is poised to boost the prospects of participants with innovative solutions. Established security vendors can leverage this situation by incorporating content filtering capabilities into their product lines either through in-house initiatives or the acquisition of a dedicated content filtering vendor.
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Source: The World Content Filtering Markets (F113-74)