The worldwide security software market defied the economic gloom last year, growing by over 18 per cent to reach $11.3bn (£6.87bn) in worldwide revenues, according to new research from Gartner.
The growth in spending appears to have been prompted by data security and privacy concerns, and the need to protect the IT infrastructure from increasingly targeted attacks, said the analyst firm.
Symantec was the leading security software vendor in 2008 with 22 per cent market share, but the figure had dropped from 24.4 per cent in 2007.
McAfee showed the strongest growth rate over the period, increasing revenues by 20.5 per cent, although it remains a long way behind Symantec with a market share of 10.9 per cent.
Gartner also recorded increasing interest in appliance-based products during 2008, with security information and event management, email security boundary, and secure web gateway appliances proving most popular.
"During times of economic uncertainty and budget restrictions, IT security leaders increasingly need to show business value and cost effectiveness for security measures, and this has impacted and slowed sales cycles," said Gartner principal research analyst Ruggero Contu.
"However, new product delivery methods, such as software-as-a-service and host-based offerings, and expected increasing interest from the small and midsize business sector, will sustain growth in the market in 2009."
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