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With most technology companies caught in the doldrums due to a flagging economy and waning consumer confidence, an intense new emphasis on security issues has been an opportunity for others. Analysts agree that of all the technology sectors, security companies are faring best amid the general high-tech slowdown as companies take measures to secure the services and information they provide. The U.S. market for managed information security services is expected to reach $2.2 billion by 2005, up from $720 million in 2001. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 25.4 percent (McGee, 2002).
The government has long been tracking intrusions into the computer networks of the Pentagon and other government agencies, as well as attacks on private universities and research labs. The tragic events of September 11, 2001, played a pivotal role in bringing the issue of computer security to the forefront. In anticipation of future cyber attacks and other forms of terrorist attacks, the Department of Homeland Security was created which has led to spending towards implementation of more secure information systems in both private and public sectors. Legislation such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Graham Leach Bliley Act (GLB), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) all play an important role in the push for implementation of security measures in industry.
Additionally, on December 15, 2000, Congress passed HR 4577, the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which requires schools and libraries that receive certain federal funds to filter Internet content. The act requires that schools and libraries implement technology protection measures to prevent young students from viewing websites that are obscene, harmful or that contain pornography. The Act also stipulates that schools and libraries create an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that outlines what materials are not appropriate for minors to view. The Internet safety policy must address the safety and security of minors when using electronic means of communication, and must protect minors in terms of the use and dissemination of personal identification information.
The Internet security market is highly fragmented with frequent acquisitions and occasional company failures. Security problems are constantly changing and the technology has to constantly evolve to match it. Therefore, there has been a trend towards increasing the speed of introduction of new security products. There has also been a gradual trend towards bundling of security products or other software packages affording some consolidation in the appliance solutions that offer simpler, more efficient and higher ROI solutions. This has also led to the reduction of the number of vendors.
The network security market can be broadly divided into the following products: firewalls, intrusion detection tools, content filtering of Internet packets, and security scanning and reporting of network traffic. There are many companies that are producing Internet security products. Some are small scale like Palisade Systems, and some are large companies like Symantec and Computer Associates which have commanded the major market share. As in many of the computer technology areas, it is the smaller players who lead their fields in innovation and product development.
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