As NSS Labs publishes its 2015 Secure Web Gateway (SWG) Market Analysis, the big question in the industry seems to be this: Will next generation firewalls with application control and URL filtering displace SWGs? The short answer is: yes, to some extent. SWGs are already being displaced among a small but growing number of SMBs, but larger enterprises are still, by and large, opting to keep their SWGs—at least for the time being.
At 20 years old, the SWG market is mature, and growth is slowing. In 2015, the market reached US$1.55 billion, with a 4.6 percent growth rate (compared to 5.1 percent in 2014). But increasing adoption of cloud-based deployment options for SWGs is helping to keep the market alive. Vendors are also increasing the stickiness of their SWGs through integration with other key security technologies, including faster-growing breach detection systems (BDS) and promising cloud access security brokers (CASBs).
Investors clearly see great value in market-leading SWG assets — for example, Symantec’s planned US$1.83 billion acquisition of Blue Coat, and Raytheon’s US$1.9 billion investment in Websense. At the same time, Websense’s former owner Vista Equity Partners has retained some skin in the game by keeping a 20 percent stake in the joint venture formed around Raytheon and Websense assets. The joint venture, now known as Forcepoint, also includes Intel Security’s NGFW product line (formerly Stonesoft).
In the short term, reports of the death of the SWG are greatly exaggerated. In the long term, however, the lines between SWGs and other security controls will blur as vendors continue integration and create overarching security platforms.
For a deeper understanding of where NSS sees the SWG market heading, download the 2015 Secure Web Gateway (SWG) Market Analysis.
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