The security appliance market generated factory revenues of $355m (£227m) in the fourth quarter of 2002, up 15 per cent on the previous quarter and representing the largest sequential growth for any technology sector in 2002.
Firewall/virtual private network (VPN) appliances continued to be the leading segment of the market with 90 per cent revenue share in the final quarter, according to analyst IDC's Worldwide Security Server Appliance Tracker.
At the same time, the network intrusion detection sub-market showed signs of momentum as it outpaced the overall market with 19 per cent sequential growth.
"Enterprises increasingly see security appliances as the bedrock of their security posture," said Charles Kolodgy, research director at IDC's security products service.
"The firewall/VPN appliance market continues to grow despite these weak economic times, and network intrusion detection appliances are increasing in popularity."
IDC suggested that much of the growth is being generated by products geared for small businesses and branch offices, and for supporting large data centres.
"By having so many flavours of security appliances, companies can service many more segments of the market," said Kolodgy.
According to IDC's research, Cisco maintained the leading position in the total worldwide security server appliance market, with 37 per cent of total sales in the fourth quarter.
Netscreen posted the strongest sequential growth among the top five vendors, achieving 32 per cent growth from the third quarter.
Chris Christiansen, programme vice president for IDC's security products service, said: "Market share only tells a minuscule part of the story.
"Vendors are jockeying for key price bands with newly introduced products. Because customers vary radically by price band, success in one area has no bearing on another market.
"Increasingly, we believe that measuring price band performance is far more important than the overall success of one vendor or another."
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