Most current Web services systems have so far been used to link applications within company boundaries. However, those wanting to use the technology, which promises to allow applications to interact over the Internet, should be prepared to spend more on security, according to David Smith, Gartner's vice-president research area director.
Smith said security was part of a bigger challenge for the nascent technology. "Trust management is the biggest threat to Web services, not security itself," he said.
However, problems over security and trust would not outweigh the benefits of Web services, in the same way that similar concerns did not prevent the development of e-business during the late 1990s, he added. "The perfect [security] solution will be elusive. There will be breaches but life will go on," he said.
The main benefits of Web services will come from integrating applications in a way that is easier and cheaper than current methods. Smith said application integration currently ranked third in technical problems for IT directors, and although Web services will not be a panacea for these challenges, they can help.
"You can use Web services for application integration - what you spend on integration can go further, or you can spend less," he said.