Computer Network Security Alternatives

Computer Network Security Alternatives
Computer network security and integrity is a large concern among all types and sizes of companies. The options for solving security risks are as varied as the companies themselves. However, it is possible to break down the methods for dealing with security risks into three major categories. Companies have the option to:

1. Select best of breed products for their various security needs and assemble the products together to form their own customized solutions.

2. Purchase a security suite that contains security products that will address their various security needs.
3. Outsource security to another company rather than handle it internally.

This paper will summarize primary research conducted by Kang-hun Lee, Yonghoon Choi, Mike Loveridge, Tom Gonzales and David Linford over a three month period to determine market trends in the security software industry.

A survey instrument was prepared to capture the following data.

1. What do companies consider threats to their network environment?

2. What preferences do they have regarding specific security services?

3. What sort of security option do they prefer when choosing between: best of breed, suites or outsourcing.

Findings and analysis

Once the data were collected, we were able to organize and analyze the results. This section will both specify the analytical procedures we used as well as report on the findings. There are three (will be more when other sections get put in) primary types of analysis that we performed.

1. Find the security software preference

2. Segment the market based on preferred security options

Finding the security software preference

We analyzed the preference data from two perspectives. First of all, we took the data as a whole in order to describe the overall market.

Overall Market

The first type of analysis that we performed consisted of finding the percentage of respondents that preferred each of the three security options. The results of this analysis are summarized on chart 1.

We found at this point that most of the people who took the survey overwhelmingly preferred a security suite approach. Most of those who preferred best of breed indicated that if a suite could provide a best of breed package, then they would prefer a suite. However, since they have not found a suite that combines the best services in the industry, they have assembled their own package containing the services that they desire.

We also found nascent interest in outsourcing as an option. However, that interest is still small compared with the other options. Most of the individuals that we interviewed preferred to directly control their computer networks. They knew their systems and felt that they could run the system more effectively than an outside company.

One point to consider here though is that we interviewed the information systems people in the various companies. They would likely see little value in outsourcing their own positions.
Security preference by size and industry

At this point, we compared the security software preferences with the industry and with the size of the industry. Smaller companies tended to have greater preference for a suite. Furthermore, both the larger and smaller companies more frequently mentioned outsourcing as an option than the mid-sized companies. These results are summarized in

The interviews revealed that technical expertise in a company combined with the company?s industry and resources to help determine the security preference.

For example, during one interview the individual felt that he had insufficient expertise to effectively protect his network. He indicated that he would gladly outsource the function to another company. If outsourcing were not an option he would strongly prefer a security suite.

In some cases, the size of the company could predict an interest in a security suite. Often, the smaller companies simply did not have enough resources or people to implement high-end network security. They either used a suite, or simply had very little security.

The company?s industry helped to determine how much expertise the company had at its disposal. Thus, a small technical company often had sufficient expertise to assemble a best of breed security option. When companies with high expertise chose a suite, it was for the convenience rather than due to a lack of skill within the company.

Segmenting the market

We segmented the market for two reasons. The first reason was to learn what types of people are in the security suite market and try to describe them. The second reason was to learn if the segments could predict software security preference. While we found three segments based on purchasing preferences, these segments did not predict which security option they preferred.

We followed several steps in order to perform a statistical segmentation of the market.

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