E-commerce is fuelling the growth of the network security market, creating ongoing business opportunities for systems integrators, according to NetStar's services director, Anthony Stitt.
"Security is not a new market but it's in the earlier stages of development," Stitt said. "There is a widespread lack of knowledge in the marketplace and a naivety about the risks. It's good for us, sitting in the middle, to help our customers understand the various products and issues."
Security is a lucrative market for integrators, because of the opportunity to provide whole-of-lifecycle solutions.
As well as various consulting activities at the outset, constructing security policies and design plans, there is a huge need for ongoing maintenance and support, including managing firewalls, intrusion detection, maintenance of equipment, ethical hacking and maintaining security policies.
The rise of e-commerce means that customers are becoming more aware of security issues, Stitt believes.
"A lot of companies have B2B e-commerce solutions and the immediate issue of security is inherent when you communicate electronically. The solutions depend on the mode of e-commerce transactions, but include things like firewalls, encrypted links and VPNs. There is also a lot care and effort required on the planning side and ongoing maintenance."
NetStar currently has 11 technical staff in its security division, roughly 10 per cent of its corporate headcount, and the team is set up geographically with a group leader for the nation and technical consultants in each state.
"Both technical consultants and sales people have to understand the consultative aspects of the market and know how to deal with customers, but it's also a very technical marketplace, so they have to be very hands on. It's about as complex as a customer market can get. There's a lot of money involved on the threat side, and there's a lot of products."
Stitt said the company's customers include banking and financial institutions, manufacturing firms, and the government sector, including health and education, but he believes the SME market will be increasingly important in the future.
"The bulk of e-business transactions in years to come will be in the SME market. To some extent there's a market providing vanilla security now, but that will increase."