The Aberdeen Group’s latest security report offers a fascinating glimpse into the dynamics of a global security industry more often shrouded in mystery.

According to Aberdeen, industry’s top ten suppliers are (in alphabetical order) Cisco, Computer Associates, IBM, Network Associates, Nokia, Siemens, Schlumberger SEMA, Symantec, Sun Microsystems, and Verisign.

These companies alone account for just over half of all industry revenue, around $8.7 billion, leaving a multitude of smaller outfits to carve up the remaining business. Ninety percent of all business goes to the top 70 suppliers.

However, the number of security companies is falling with 50 companies being acquired and 36 failing in the 2001-2002 period, a consolidation that should eventually transform the security business as it has other technology sectors. That leaves 350 privately held and 70 public companies in existence.

After a couple of years of flat figures, the report predicts that 2003 will see overall spending by companies increase by 4 to 5 percent, well down from the double digit rates seen in the late 1990s but still respectable by industry-wide levels.

Though such industry consolidation is set to pick up pace, the security industry remains highly fragmented by comparison with other technology sectors.