Analysts at Frost & Sullivan predict that the market for WAC in Europe will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 69.9% from 2000 to 2007, reaching an annual worth of $1.96bn (£1.37bn).
The market grew from $47.5m in 2000 to $109.1m this year, according to the Frost & Sullivan research. But the organisation's report, The European Web Access Control Software Market, warns that growth to 2002 will be not be as impressive because of the current market slowdown.
While WAC is clearly growing as organisations adopt e-business strategies with increasing urgency, users will face many obstacles in the coming years.
Frost & Sullivan believes one of the biggest problems with WAC is the failure to properly integrate e-business offerings with legacy data.
"Companies that fail to tightly integrate their e-business operations not only risk losing competitive ground from a technology standpoint but also come short of taking advantage of the kind of synergistic relationships with partners, customers and suppliers that e-business enables," the report states.
The cost of WAC solutions, lack of education, scalability issues and a general lack of education are also cited by the report as barriers to the widespread adoption of such solutions.
However, Frost & Sullivan believes the security market is becoming more focused as organisations other than niche security vendors join the fray. This will ultimately result in consolidation.
"Companies would rather be offered an enterprise solution than a standalone product, and so market participants are broadening their portfolios," the report states.
This may explain why Frost & Sullivan has labelled the traditional enterprise systems manager Tivoli Systems as WAC market leader, in terms of market share.
The IBM subsidiary commanded a 48.7% share with its Policy Director offering, streets ahead of its nearest rival Ubizen, at 10% and Netegrity, at 9.8%.
"We weren't surprised [by the findings] because we have strong sales in Europe," said Mike Collins, Tivoli EMEA product marketing manager for security. "This area is seen very much as a growth area and is expected to grow at 69.9% CAGR, which is tremendous. If it does grow at this rate, we're getting to market early."
However, while Tivoli is keen to show off about its number one placing, the report points out that the company has actually lost market share in the past 12 months. Ubizen's share remained stable, while Netegrity and fourth-placed company Entrust Solutions both gained market share.
And Tivoli has not reached this position based on the quality of its offering. It has had a little help from IBM.
"[Tivoli's lead] is due to the fact that Tivoli has been using IBM's distribution channels across Europe, benefiting enormously from this in order to reach potential customers," the report said. "In addition, unlike most of its competitors, all of their revenues are coming from software sales rather than integration and professional services, which are provided by IBM and other third parties."