Along with firewalls, intrusion prevention systems (IPS) are among the most well understood security appliances available on the market today. As part of our recently announced Competitive Intelligence Research offering, NSS Labs has released its first Market Intelligence Brief on the IPS market. Through interviews with vendors and enterprises, NSS Labs has assessed the maturity of this market and evaluated its future prospects – and determined that there is still considerable interest in IPS technology and continued investment in pure-play IPS products.

Several high-profile breaches and data thefts have resulted in a considerable resurgence in security investment. At the close of 2013, IPS represented more than US$1.3 billion of the total addressable security market, and IPS technology continues to gain mainstream acceptance as a requirement in the overall security stack.

How will new security technologies such as next generation firewall (NGFW), breach detection systems (BDS), and even big data security analytics (BDSA) affect the IPS market? To a degree, all of these technologies incorporate capabilities traditionally associated with IPS, for example, deep packet inspection (DPI), and protocol analysis. Attempts have been made to differentiate next generation IPS from traditional IPS and the other newer technologies by positioning it as a security operations center (SOC) for organizations. Ultimately, however, it is the customers that will decide whether IPS becomes a component of other multifunction security products or remains a separate product within the enterprise.

Even though emerging technologies are increasingly competing with IPS for investment dollars, NSS believes that the global security market is expanding at a rate sufficient to ensure that the IPS segment will continue to grow. Cisco’s US$2.7 billion acquisition of Sourcefire affirms the importance of IPS technology; but, as this technology is integrated into Cisco’s product line, it is becoming clear that IPS’ status as a standalone product is changing. For the foreseeable future, however, IPS products should continue to see steady growth at a compound rate of 4.9% through 2018.