Australian IT-security spending outpacing the world as vertical-industry spending slumps: Gartner

A worsening threat climate and growing demand for security services will keep growth in Australian spending on information-security solutions well ahead of world levels this year, Gartner has forecasted in its latest global security market assessment.

Government initiatives, increased legislation and a continuing spate of high-profile data breaches would drive a 4.7 percent increase in global security spending this year, to $US75.4 billion ($A107.7b), the firm predicted.

Australia's market, by contrast, was forecast to grow nearly twice as fast – at 7.5 percent, to reach $2.36b this year overall. This would be led by growth in higher-value areas such as security testing, IT outsourcing, and identity and access management (IAM) as well as buoying interest in emerging technologies like endpoint detection and remediation tools, threat intelligence and cloud security tools like encryption.

The figures reflected continuing strong demand in Australia, which Gartner has previously pegged as outpacing the world in 2014 and back in 2013.

"Interest in security technologies is increasingly driven by elements of digital business, particularly cloud, mobile computing and now also the Internet of Things, as well as by the sophisticated and high-impact nature of advanced targeted attacks," Gartner research analyst Elizabeth Kim said in a statement.

Increasing demand in these new areas wasn't, Kim added, going to be enough to compensate for the commoditisation of the larger segments for endpoint protection tools and consumer security software, which had softened predictions in those segments.

Appreciation in the US dollar, which has risen against the Australian dollar and a host of other currencies this year, was expected to soften demand as price increase of up to 20 percent led many organisations, particularly in Europe, to defer security-related investments.

Gartner has also forecasted strong consolidation of security offerings – which will mean challenging times for niche and poorly-integrated solutions – with fewer than 5 percent of network security vendors gaining traction in the endpoint protection platform (EPP) market and a reworking of data loss prevention (DLP) solutions leading to a 4 percent to 5 percent “constriction of growth” through 2019.

Also projected were a limitation on the growth in adoption of unified threat management (UTM) solutions outside of the SMB market, as well as a strong trend towards integration of sandbox 'detonation' capabilities that will increasingly be bundled as extensions to network and content security platforms.

The steady growth in the security market belied pessimistic projections in many other verticals, where Gartner also recently forecasted strong softening in demand worldwide. The firm's latest forecast predicted a 3.5 percent overall decline in IT spending in 2015 as compared to 2014, when all business verticals registered slight but positive growth in spending.

Government IT budgets showed the strongest decline, dropping 5 percent this year overall, while manufacturing and natural resources IT spending dropped 4.5 percent and utilities, 3.9 percent. These spending slumps reflected a stronger US dollar, the firm noted, as well as a tightening of budgets in response to shifting demand and, in the case of government, consolidation mandates.

Yet IT security spending remained a shining light amongst the gloom of the spending declines, with Gartner research director Rajesh Kandaswamy noting that banks in particular were looking towards IT-security investments in association with big-data, analytics and other competitive investments.

"As banks grapple with growth and regulation issues, while battling new financial technology competitors, they will also look to invest in data reach the right customer and analyze the risks," Kandaswamy said in a statement.

“Cybersecurity remains an area of focus for executives in consumer banking segments, while an emerging area of interest is smart machine technology, including artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, intelligent analytics and deep learning."