With crippling virus attacks becoming a regular occurrence every few months and an unceasing barrage of spam, the market harbours great opportunities for companies offering Internet security products and services. This story profiles three start-ups in this space.
Three Silicon Valley computer security start-ups — Reconnex, PassMark Security and ServGate Technologies — are among those attempting to carve a niche in one of high tech’s hottest areas. Worldwide computer security sales are forecast to reach $45 billion in 2007, up from about $19 billion in 2002, according to market research firm IDC.
Reconnex has designed a hardware appliance to stop leaks and security breaches — accidental or malicious — from employees within companies. ServGate has bundled anti-virus, anti-spam and other security features onto an appliance to protect small businesses or branch offices of larger companies from outside threats. PassMark Security has created a personalized icon to assure customers that a bank or e-commerce Web site is authentic, and not part of a “phishing” scam designed to steal passwords or account information.
All three companies stress the simplicity of using their products, but each faces challenges as well.
“There’s definitely an opening” for a company like Reconnex, said John Pescatore, vice president of Internet security for market research firm Gartner Group. But, he added, companies tend to worry about cracking down on employee behavior less when the economy heats up.
He said verification systems such as PassMarks are a “cool thing,” but that they could be more of an interim solution as user-authentication technology evolves.
Pescatore said ServGate faces stiff competition from others, including networking giant Cisco Systems and security provider NetScreen Technologies, which is being acquired by Juniper Networks. But he said ServGate has done well building sales in emerging Internet markets such as China.