Worldwide sales of security server appliances grew by $42m (£27m) in the final quarter of 2002, with firewall and virtual private network (VPN) appliances leading the way, according to IDC.
The overall market grew 15 per cent as shipments grew to $355m in the fourth quarter of 2002. Firewall and VPN appliances accounted for 90 per cent of revenues.
Charles Kolodgy, research director for security products at IDC, said enterprises now see appliances as central to network security.
"The firewall/VPN appliance market continues to grow despite the weak economic times, and network intrusion detection appliances are also increasing in popularity," he said in a statement.
According to the findings Cisco led the way in the final quarter of 2002, with a 37.4 per cent share of the market, while Nokia followed at number two with a 15.9 per cent share.
NetScreen recorded growth of almost 32 per cent, raising its total market share to 12 per cent, while Sonicwall, whose appliance sales fell 12.7 per cent, was the only top five vendor to record a drop.
Luca Bertagnolio, security products marketing manager at Cisco, said the vendor is ahead of the field because it has always seen security as the domain of the appliance. "We have always been pushing security appliances and we are ahead of a market that is coming our way."
The research also found server-based intrusion detection systems (IDS) to be the fastest growing products within this category, with 19 per cent growth in the quarter.
Bertagnolio said the variety of resellers selling security appliances helped to increase sales.
"These are not only just an opportunity for security resellers. Those selling networking equipment are now selling a lot of security because this is what their customers are asking for," he said.
"Vendors are making life easier for resellers through better price and performance ratios on appliances today."
According to Bertagnolio, Cisco sees the security market as moving towards having different network cards, for firewalls, IDS and antivirus, that all fit into one networked server.
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