Firewalls--software that keeps out unwanted intruders--are a mainstay of corporate security. While almost every large and midsize business already uses a firewall, more companies will start installing the devices at an increasing number of points in their networks, said Mark Bouchard, senior program director for technology research at Meta Group.
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Digitally cordoning off networks has proved to be an effective way to prevent some attacks, such as worms, from spreading. Business adoption of that tactic, plus sales to new customers, will expand the market for firewalls to $2.5 billion worldwide in 2005, Bouchard estimated.
The forecast comes as security companies seek to improve the integration of different safeguards into a single device. Such a product would bring together many functions, such as virus protection, intrusion detection, virtual private networking (VPN), firewalls and content filtering.
Security device maker NetScreen Technologies and network hardware maker Cisco both plan toVPN products. Internet Security Systems, a network protection company, has combined . In addition, Check Point Software Technologies announced in mid-November that it would from firewall and VPN software and devices to incorporate internal network and Web site protection software and services.
Meta Group's Bouchard believes that companies will still demand stand-alone firewall devices to protect key parts of their networks.
"I believe that the integrated products have a way to go before they become a primary solution," he said.