The complexity of malicious code infiltrating corporate networks has rendered simple security tools such as antivirus, antispyware, and perimeter defenses as inadequate security solutions. Today, companies need security solutions that are more than standalone lines of defense. Using its Forrester Wave™ methodology, Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) examined the evolving client security suite market to see how vendors stacked up against one another. McAfee emerged as the current market leader.

“Antivirus and perimeter defenses alone no longer provide adequate defense against malicious code, particularly as the workforce becomes increasingly mobile,” says analyst Natalie Lambert. “We expect the market to shift quickly toward client security suites as leading vendors enhance functionality across key areas.”

The vendors Forrester evaluated all fit established criteria: revenue exceeding $500 million, a suite encompassing solutions that provide protection against known threats, and a central management feature for all product functionality.

Client security suites integrate the following components: antivirus, antispyware, personal firewall, and Host IPS (HIPS). The Forrester Wave consisted of a combination of hands-on lab evaluations, vendor surveys, and product demos. Using 170 criteria, vendors were grouped according to current offering, strategy, and market presence.

Due to the evolving nature of the market, Forrester found that each of the vendors was in a different stage of building out its suites. To address the differing strengths of the vendors, Forrester developed a Wave for each of the most important features today: security tools for today’s known threats, unified product architecture and manageability, and breadth of client security suite. Overall, Forrester found that McAfee ranked as a leader in each category.

  • McAfee has the most comprehensive security suite. Its full portfolio, robust management features, and strong architecture make it a great fit for companies looking for a client security solution. It is the only suite with full HIPS functionality, although it isn’t yet fully integrated.
  • Symantec offers strong spyware detection, manageability, and robust management features. The console and all alerts, errors, and notification messages are customizable to the needs of the organization. While special weight was placed on services that had HIPS in their portfolio, Symantec offers limited HIPS functionality in a fully integrated suite.
  • Trend Micro excels in unified architecture. The Web-based management console allows administrators to manage the product remotely.
  • Computer Associates offers the best protection against known threats. However, it lacks many key features, including the ability to customize how different categories of spyware are handled.

Details on the vendor ratings are included in the research, “The Forrester Wave™: Client Security Suites, Q2 2005,” which is available to Forrester WholeView2™ clients at

The Forrester Wave Methodology

The Forrester Wave methodology is open, rigorous, and unbiased. Forrester starts with an open criteria review process, verifies findings against customer interviews, and checks facts with vendors. This research is performed without sponsorship to help user companies make better vendor selections. Forrester does not charge vendors in any way to participate in a Forrester Wave.