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Who Makes What: Security Appliances

Light Reading
LR Mobile Report
Light Reading
4/8/2005

Welcome to another Light Reading project aimed at helping everybody get a better understanding of a rapidly evolving marketplace – in this case, for network security appliances bought by service providers, enterprises, and residential users.

As with previous Who Makes What reports, this article proposes a taxonomy, lists vendors, and invites readers to suggest improvements, point out omissions, and generally lend a hand in building industry consensus behind two projects:

  • A comprehensive directory of security appliances that will be offered free of charge to users of this Website, in the same way that Light Reading is already offering free use of its first two interactive directories, for Ethernet Services and IP Services Software.

  • A market perception survey conducted by Heavy Reading, Light Reading’s market research division. In this survey, prospective purchasers will be invited to identify the companies they recognize as security appliance suppliers and name the ones they consider market leaders in terms of price, performance, reliability, and service and support.
The bottom line is that it’s in the interests of companies making security appliances to make sure they’re cited in this report, and that they’ve completed and returned the downloadable questionnaire so that the full details of their products are included in the directory. This is entirely free of charge: It equates to free publicity in Light Reading, which has an overall readership of more than 920,000 unique monthly users.

This report differs from other Who Makes What reports in that it isn’t based around a simple taxonomy defining product categories such as routers and switches. That’s partly because all sorts of products embody some aspect of security, and partly because many products target multiple security functions and the combinations of functions differ from one vendor to another.

For this reason, Light Reading is only including products whose primary purpose is to provide some aspect of network security, and it’s inviting vendors to categorize their products themselves, using three different metrics:

  • Target customer
  • Primary security function(s) or type(s)
  • The security threat(s) targeted by the product
CALL TO ACTION: A questionnaire to enable vendors to categorize their products using these criteria can be downloaded by clicking on this link. The questionnaire has been made as simple as possible to complete, mainly by selecting YES or NO responses to drop-down menus.

Here’s a hyperlinked summary of the remainder of this report:

  • Page 2: Product Selection Criteria
    This page gives readers an opportunity to comment on basis of the downloadable questionnaire, and suggest additions, deletions, or revisions.

  • Page 3: Vendors
    This page invites readers to name companies that should be included in this survey or comment on companies already listed.
To comment, simply post your suggestions on the message board linked to this article. This is the preferred input method, but you can also contribute by email, addressed to [email protected]. Please include "security appliances" in the subject field to help us identify your comments.

We will update the report in response to reader input, so if your company has been left off any of the lists by mistake, or you have any suggestions for improvement of the taxonomy, please get in touch. The initial version of the report represents our best effort at producing a directory, but we need your feedback to make it comprehensive.

— Tim Hills is a freelance telecommunications writer and journalist. He's a regular author of Light Reading reports.

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