Database Security Market To Grow 20 Percent Through 2014

Mobility, data volume, and difficulty patching still lead challenges in protecting databases
Two analyst reports out this month show that as organizations struggle to protect databases that touch a multiplying list of applications and endpoints, the uptick in database security product deployments will continue at a considerable growth rate in the next few years.

According to Forrester Research analyst Noel Yuhanna in his most recent database security market overview report, the database security market is expected to grow by 20 percent through 2014. Yuhanna pegs the current market at $755 million including new licenses and support, database auditing, real-time protection, data masking, vulnerability assessment, and database encryption across all database management system (DBMS) platforms. As that figure grows to $1.2 billion in 2014, Yuhanna says to expect continued consolidation in the market.

"The database security market is likely to converge with the overall data security market in the future, as DBMS vendors extend the security features that are bundled with their products," he wrote. "Larger database security vendors such as Fortinet, IBM, McAfee, and Oracle will continue to dominate the database security market and are likely to acquire independent vendors to fill gaps in their security portfolio."

This year has seen the nexus of a number of trends that could add up to big growth in everything from database activity monitoring to data masking during the coming years. According to a recent database market landscape report out by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), historical under-investment in database security, combined with the increased sophistication of advanced persistent threats and a spike in data volume and mobile access points, have all contributed to IT's concern over the matter.

ESG analyst Julie Lockner says that it's no surprise that in a recent survey, slightly over half of IT decision makers listed management of security and compliance issues as one of the biggest challenges to meet within the database environment.

"The big issue is dealing with the mobility factor. Everyone wants to access the database through applications on their mobile devices," says Lockner. "It's an issue of both data volume and the increasing number of endpoints that people are accessing that data through."

According to Forrester's Yuhanna, organizations still continue to struggle also with database patching. In his report, he writes that 41 percent of enterprises still find it a challenge to deal with database patches, mostly due to the effort required for application testing and the frequent need for database shutdown to deploy patches. He believes it is incumbent upon the DBMS vendors to grease the skids in this area.

"We are likely to see some DBMS vendors such as IBM and Oracle improve the overall experience with security patching by automating the patching process and delivering real-time patching that requires no shutdown of databases," he wrote.

Forrester also reports that database activity monitoring and other auditing tools still lead deployment numbers, but the biggest growth has been in database vulnerability assessment tools. The firm says that the use of vulnerability assessment tools for database environments grew by 66 percent from 2008 to 2010. According to ESG's Lockner, these tools should be a bare minimum database security technology for enterprises today.

"If you really believe that your database systems are important, then the lowest common denominator should be vulnerability assessment," she says. "Companies that don't do it at this point are not very wise. It takes a minimal amount of effort and saves so many headaches."

As IT organizations continue to bring in more types of database security products into the mix, they will need to follow a thoughtful risk management approach to prioritize which technologies and which databases see the first deployments. This starts with solid data classification.

"Classifying database data is kind of a foundation," Lockner says. "Once you've classified it, the data should have a level of risk associated with it and that should help you weigh what types of products you use or what type of architecture to build."

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