Content Security Waves

Chenxi Wang

After many months of work, we finally published the much-awaited content security Waves. On the Forrester SRM website, under the content security tab, you will be able to find three Wave documents: Email Filtering Wave, Web Filtering Wave, and Content Security Suites Wave.


We included ten vendors for all three Waves, Cisco Systems, Google, Marshal8e6, McAfee, Symantec/MessageLabs, Microsoft, McAfee/Secure Computing, Symantec, Trend Micro, and Websense. The intent of the Waves is to evaluate vendors who provide filtering functionality for multiple communication protocols (e.g., email, Web, and IM). Consequently, we did not include some of the pure-play vendors, such as Blue Coat Systems (for Web filtering) and Proofpoint (for email filtering), in the evaluations.


The evaluation of email filtering vendors revealed a mature market, characterized by strong appliance vendors with upstart cloud providers poised to win market shares. More specifically, we found that Symantec, Cisco Systems, and McAfee/Secure Computing lead the field because of their strong functionality and focused strategies. Google, Microsoft, Symantec/MessageLabs, and Websense are close behind with innovative cloud-based offerings. Trend Micro, Marshal8e6, and McAfee trail the field (see Figure1).

The evaluation of Web filtering market indicated a less than mature market, with

Websense and McAfee/Secure Computing lead the pack. Trend Micro, Cisco Systems, Symantec/MessageLabs, and McAfee are Strong Performers but fall short in certain areas of technology. Google, Marshal8e6, Microsoft, and Symantec lack either strong capability or cohesive vision, and trail the field (see Figure 2)

As the content security market continues to evolve, Forrester sees a growing market demand for consolidated content security suites rather than point products. In the third Wave, we evaluated content security suite offerings. The evaluation uncovered a budding market where only a small number of vendors reported adequate suite functionality. More specifically, we found that Websense leads the market because of its wide functionality and suite-oriented strategy. Symantec, McAfee/Secure Computing, and Trend Micro all have a clear strategy for product suites but are a notch down from Websense. Cisco, Symantec/MessageLabs, and Microsoft fall short in offering broad suite functionality. Google, McAfee, and Marshal8e6 trail the field for lacking either suite focus or comprehensive capabilities (see Figure 3).

To see the detailed evaluation criteria and vendor scores, please refer to the actual Wave documents: Email Filtering, Web Filtering, and  Content Security Suites.


Figure 1: Email Filtering


Figure 2: Web Filtering


Figure 3: Content Security Suites



re: Content Security Waves

Ever since the Waves are published, I've been getting questions as to why Bluecoat was not included in the Web Wave and why Proofpoint was not included in the Email Wave, etc. So I want to write a clarification here.The primary reason that folks like Bluecoat and Proofpoint were not included in the Wave evaluation is that we set out to do an evaluation of vendors who offer filtering capabilities in multiple content protocols (e.g., web, email, IM). That is why we didn't include pure-play vendors like Bluecoat and Proofpoint. Certainly Bluecoat and Proofpoint are significant players in their respective spaces, the omission from the Waves does not constitute, in any way, shape, or form, an opinion on their technologies.The three Waves started out as a single evaluation, but later when it became too voluminous, we decided to break it up into three Waves. However, the three Waves are still "integrated" in that they refer to each other and use each other's scores. Pure play vendors would not have received a fair assessment in this evaluation.