Spyware, phishing attacks, adware and, in particular, spam continue to drive fast take-up of content filtering software and services. At the same time, the need to protect sensitive corporate information from the prying eyes of employees or rivals is adding a further boost.
Consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan projects that the market for content filtering products will rise at a compound annual growth rate of 29.7% over the period 2003-2010, and predicts that revenue from the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region will increase from current estimates of $246.8 million to $1,054.2 million in 2010.
Email will dominate, representing nearly three-quarters of that revenue pie at the end of the decade. So far in EMEA, demand has been highest in the UK and Germany, but as filtering capabilities are extended to other local languages the base will grow.
A key challenge for the future will be dealing with the sensitivity of filtering technology. "Such ‘false positives' pose a critical challenge to filter vendors and need to be a focal point for research and development initiatives," cautions Jose Lopez, Frost & Sullivan analyst.
The EU is set to follow in the United States' footsteps and redress the lack of legislation surrounding content filtering, although several initiatives, such as the European Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail (EuroCAUCE), are already trying to tackle this issue.
Nearly 80% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) believe that their Internet service provider (ISP) should take responsibility for antispam and antivirus protection.
That conclusion, from a survey conducted by email filtering managed service provider Checkbridge, suggests that the lack of security deployed by SMEs is posing a serious threat to banks, retailers and other online businesses that provide links into their systems – offering hackers an easy way in.
The research showed that this willingness to take on security responsibilities was a critical factor in the selection of a service provider, with 61% saying this would influence their choice of ISP.