Hackers attached to crime syndicates will be responsible for the majority of security breaks as competition in the corporate sector becomes more fierce.
"Hacking is not just for fun anymore. It has become the domain of crime syndicates stealing valuable information from competitors," said Steve Cornish, Northern European vice president for visual security policy management company SolSoft.
The vendor is breaking into European markets with the mantra that time is of the essence when it comes to security.
"In the past, machine coding was fine, but now visual coding, which programmes the routers and firewalls to the full path of the service, will be the hot topic," said Cornish.
He predicted the biggest threat would come from internal sources within a company. "It's harder to patrol people who are legally within a network, but are conducting illegal activities," he said.
Cornish suggested security, which is essential no matter what the economic climate, would offer the best returns for resellers.
A survey conducted by the Computer Crime and Security Association in March 2001 showed a 40 per cent increase in the number of external intrusions made into company networks between 2000 and 2001.
There was also a 91 per cent rise in the number of cases in which employees were found to be abusing the Internet system and a 94 per cent increase in the number of viruses.
Dwight Spencer, Tivoli sales enablement manager, agreed that firewalls, anti-virus programmes or intrusion detectors were no longer sufficient to safeguard systems.
He said a whole security infrastructure was needed and that it will provide an opportunity for vendors and the channel in 2002.
Andrew Cakebread, head of software and licensing at Ingram Micro, said the security market was stable, flourishing and expected to grow even further in the new year.
"We expect a particular growth explosion within the SME sector as smaller businesses start to realise the importance of IT security and the concept behind it," he said.
One analyst pointed out that security in general will continue to be a growth market, especially since 11 September.
"Not only will security software sell, but access control into buildings will also be a prominent feature of the year," he predicted, adding that hacking would continue to be a problem.
While it is obvious the opportunities are there in the security market, it is up to the channel to grasp those chances and run with them, he claimed.