Gartner Hype Cycles: Why You Should Believe this Hype

Can there be any more security buzz flying around in the market today? With an estimated 1,600 security vendors each espousing their own rhetoric as to why you just can’t survive unless you have their latest doohickey, it’s no wonder that executives are confused about what’s a smart security investment.

Industry analysts are doing what they can to help executives navigate the complexities of the security market. The sheer number of security categories, sub-categories, and sub-sub-categories is simply astounding, and can further complicate things. And just when you think you have a handle on the latest security trends and you’re confident you know exactly what it is you need, a new threat, new trend, or new technology emerges and makes you re-think everything yet again.

451 Research keeps a close eye on the security market, producing a variety of insightful research including Impact Reports, which feature different companies and independent perspectives on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of those companies. In fact, you can see an Impact Report on OPAQ here.

Gartner also produces a variety of research reports. Some of the most popular reports are the Gartner Hype Cycles, which can be useful as visual guides in helping executives assess different types of security technologies. Two Gartner Hype Cycles that were released earlier this month were the Hype Cycle for Threat-Facing Technologies and Hype Cycle for Enterprise Networking and Communications (these reports are accessible only to Gartner subscribers). The former Hype Cycle features security technologies that aim to “prevent and protect IT systems and applications from attack, enabling fast and effective response.” The latter Hype Cycle features technologies that can help executives to “evolve their networks to support functional and strategic business requirements” and “support digital business initiatives and new business models while also providing flexible, resilient, and scalable connectivity.”

As different as these two Hype Cycles are, there is a common thread – Firewall-as-a-Service is a category represented in both, which features the need for tight integration of networking and security, as well as for automation and orchestration. It’s the first time that Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) is represented in the Hype Cycle for Enterprise Networking and Communications. In both Hype Cycles, it’s defined as “a multifunction security gateway delivered as a cloud-based service or hybrid solution. The promise of FWaaS is to provide simpler and more flexible architecture by leveraging centralized policy management, multiple enterprise firewall features and traffic tunneling to partially or fully move security inspections to a cloud infrastructure.”

With a benefit rating of “High” the business impact of FWaaS “offers a significantly different architecture for branches or even single-site organizations. It also offers greater visibility through centralized policy, increased flexibility and potentially reduced cost by using a fully or partially hosted security workload.” OPAQ is referenced in both Gartner Hype Cycles as a sample vendor providing FWaaS, with serious enterprise-grade Next-Generation Firewall protection powered by Palo Alto Networks.

The as-a-service business model in security is not going away – it’s more than hype; it’s a mainstay. Integrating networking and security into a single cloud service that is simple to deploy and maintain eliminates cost, complexity, and much of the feature-focused security noise that plagues executives pondering smart security investments.