The total market, including software, hardware and services, is expected to jump from $17 billion in revenues in 2001 to $45 billion three years from now, according to Brian Burke, senior research analyst for IDC's Security Products service.
Growth in security-related hardware is leading the charge with a compound annual growth rate of 25% between 2001 and 2006. Security services, according to IDC's report, falls in line next with a 24% growth rate and software follows that with 16%.
''Although many IT markets declined from 2001 to 2002, a recent IDC survey shows security spending remains a top priority for most organizations,'' says Burke. ''Our survey results show that security was rated as a top priority in 2002. And security was the only IT budget to increase in 2001.''
Burke says administrators are focusing their efforts on worm and virus attacks. Secure content management is the industry's biggest growth area right now, with antivirus software making up 85% of that spending, according to Burke.
''Antivirus companies had a huge, huge year,'' he adds. ''They grew an average of 33% to 34%.''
Burke also says administrators are turning to email content filtering, working to stop the deluge of spam, as well as to abide by an influx of privacy regulations in the health care and financial industries.
''They're starting to understand that firewalls aren't enough anymore,'' he adds. ''They're adopting a layered approach, protecting mail servers and file servers, and installing antivirus protection at the gateway. They're looking at protection on each layer.''
IDC's report, however, flies in the face of recent analyst observations that security and network administrators are backing off of security spending. Many industry watchers say spending peaked after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, amid fears that terrorists could target the Internet and corporate networks. After such a big focus -- both in terms of time and budget -- on security, a lot of IT leaders and CFOs are holding off on new spending right now.
Eric Hemmendinger, research director for the Security and Privacy Group at the Boston-based Aberdeen Group, says the economic slowdown has tightened budgets and greatly slowed security spending.
''We do have more awareness of the issues than we did a few years ago,'' says Hemmendinger. ''But the economic slowdown has crippled spending and that has kept people from going off and solving the problems they might have otherwise.''