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A new report out yesterday by Infonetics Research showed that the security software as a service (SaaS) market surged by 70 percent in 2009, as security vendors and their customers searched for a better way to deliver and receive enterprise protection.

"Strong interest in and broad availability of SaaS security offerings will help drive strong growth in the overall managed security services market over the next 5 years," says Jeff Wilson, Infonetics Research’s principal analyst for security and author of the report.

According to Wilson, the strong growth in security SaaS has mainly been driven by demand for content security services, such as Web filtering, hosted e-mail security services and antivirus. In his report, he predicted that security delivered through SaaS will grow from 10% of total security service revenue in 2009 to 22% in 2014.

Wilson wrote that the overall managed security services market overall experienced a very healthy growth rate last year, ramping up by 12 percent to $9.4 billion. Approximately 41 percent of that spend came from North America.

Though SaaS grew considerably, the bulk of the security services market is still dominated by services around customer premises equipment (CPE). Wilson observed that service provider managed firewalls remain the "bread and butter" of the services market. He also noted that though large organizations represent the largest revenue opportunity for service providers offering managed security services, medium and small organizations are spending money on these services at a faster pace.

"Despite the global economic meltdown that started in mid-2008, the security services market is strong and growing," Wilson says. "The primary market drivers for security services include increasing global demand from organizations of all sizes due to the proliferation of security threats of all types; the complexity of current security solutions; widespread use of diverse devices; and the desire of product manufacturers and service providers to add recurring revenue and improve margins."