Most mid to large European companies plan to consolidate network security on a single hardware appliance in the next year, a survey has revealed.
An average of 90% of respondents said they planned to consolidate, with two-thirds doing so to reduce costs and make network security easier to manage.
The Vanson Bourne survey polled 600 IT decision makers in UK, France and Germany, with 200 drawn from each country.
All countries were positive about consolidating two or more security functions into a single hardware appliance, although the UK was lagging by more than 20%.
Romain Foucherou, IDC analyst said this is surprising considering the UK is one of the largest users of unified threat management (UTM) appliances.
The most likely explanation, he said, is that UTM suppliers have been more aggressive in France and Germany in demonstrating value in the recession.
"The recession has taught most organisations the value of this approach to security, which frees organisations from rigid licensing models," said Foucherou.
Some 44% of survey respondents cited this as the most important procurement lesson learned from the recession.
"Organisations can switch costs from capex to opex, paying for flexible services that can be turned on and off as required," said Foucherou.
A quarter of respondents said a UTM approach to security enabled them to get more security at a lower cost.
"Once companies have invested in a single hardware appliance, new capabilities can be added with a simple hardware upgrade," said Foucherou.
This means organisations can be assured of future scalability as the business grows and the threat environment changes, without buying additional hardware, he said.
Medium to large businesses are being more progressive in security strategies, said Patrice Perche, VP EMEA at security firm Fortinet.
"They are looking at mature, enterprise-ready integrated security solutions to reduce cost and tighten security through consolidation," he said.
Despite the recession, Foucherou said cost was not the only driver. Scalability and ease of use are almost equally important to business, he said.