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No doubt, perimeter security is a staple for any network environment, and channel sales are still going strong. But partners say that perimeter solutions could face some challenging times as security vendors struggle to keep firewalls and other products fresh and competitive.
According to respondents to Everything Channel's State of Technology: Security survey, perimeter security comprises about 20 percent of partners' total product revenue. Meanwhile, at more than 63 percent, perimeter security ranked third on the list of top technologies currently offered by partners.
Yet despite its solid presence in the industry, perimeter security might be facing an uncertain future with a saturated market and lack of truly innovative technologies. Only 11.5 percent of partners maintain that products like firewalls are their most profitable revenue source, and just under 7 percent of partners plan to add perimeter security offerings within the next 18 months.
"The firewall market is very mature, but there's a lot of stuff that firewalls really don't do and protect against," said Peter Bybee, president of Network Vigilance, an IT security and risk management VAR based in San Diego.
As a result, partners say that security vendors must redefine and refresh their perimeter security offerings to stay competitive in a market that has remained stagnant for a while.
"Margins are lower than they were before and vendors have to be more targeted in order to compete," said Robert Koran, vice president of Mark Enterprises Inc., an El Segundo, Calif.-based VAR.
Despite its stagnancy in some of the high-end market segments, growth of perimeter security has significantly outpaced other technologies in the SMB space, particularly as the technology becomes less expensive and easier to install.
In addition, partners also maintain that lower-tiered markets, which once enjoyed a hack-free existence because of their relative obscurity, are also becoming more aware of increasing security threats that could attack their networks and potentially devastate their business.
"Now they can afford it," Koran said. "Before you had best-of-breed of enterprise firewall. Now it's not just a firewall—they're getting a lot more features with their purchase," he said.