What did the technology research firm find? Gartner named Intel Security (formerly McAfee), Kaspersky Lab, Sophos (SOPH), Symantec (SYMC) and Trend Micro (TYO) as leaders in its Magic Quadrant for EPP and said Microsoft (MSFT) soon could be a challenger in this segment too.
Gartner also noted EPP revenue of Magic Quadrant participants rose above $3 billion in 2013, but the EPP market has grown only 2 percent since 2012. (This Gartner report was published at the end of 2014, but did not cover 2014 numbers.)
"The total EPP revenue of the Magic Quadrant participants at year-end 2013 was slightly more than $3 billion. However, most growth came from accounting issues versus real revenue growth," Gartner wrote in its report. "As a result, the market is up only 2 percent from 2012, even as the number of reported seat licenses sold increased by 6 percent. Essentially, this means that the license revenue per seat declined slightly. We anticipate that growth will continue to be in the low single digits in 2014."
Gartner used four categories to classify Magic Quadrant for EPP participants:
Gartner defined leaders as companies that "demonstrate balanced progress and effort in all execution and vision categories. Their capabilities in advanced malware protection, data protection and/or management features raise the competitive bar for all products in the market, and they can change the course of the industry."
Challengers have solid anti-malware products that address the foundational security needs of the mass market, according to Gartner. Also, these EPP providers have stronger sales, visibility and/or security lab clout, Gartner said, and are good at competing on basic functions rather than on advanced features.
Microsoft was the only challenger on Gartner's Magic Quadrant for EPP.
Gartner included six visionaries on its Magic Quadrant for EPP:
The technology research firm said visionaries "invest in the leading-edge (aka "bleeding edge") features – such as advanced malware protection, data protection and/or management capabilities – that will be significant in the next generation of products."
4. Niche players
Niche players provide "viable, uncomplicated anti-malware solutions that meet the basic needs of buyers, or that focus on a specific protection capability," Gartner said.
EPP solutions could become more powerful over the next few years as well.
Gartner predicted that by 2018, more than 60 percent of EPP solutions would include restriction features that ensure users can only execute processes that have been pre-inspected for security and privacy risks – up from 22 percent today.