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There’s big money in cloud security — but exactly how much remains up for debate.

Gartner issued a report this morning that pegs the global cloud-based security services market at $2.1 billion in 2013. The technology research firm expects the market to grow to $3.1 billion in 2015.

“The cloud-based security market remains a viable one, offering providers many opportunities for expansion,” said Ruggero Contu, research director at Gartner, in a statement. “Encryption will be a new area of growth, but it remains a complex activity. The strongest interest will be in encryption products from cloud security brokers, which are relatively easy to deploy and have options for on-premises encryption management.”

Market research firm Infonetics Research is even more optimistic about the industry’s growth potential. In a report released two weeks ago, the firm predicted that the cloud security market will reach $9.2 billion in 2017, despite potential setbacks along the way.

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“The long-term outlook for managed security services, and especially cloud services, is quite strong, but there are some potential stumbling blocks,” cautioned Jeff Wilson, principal security analyst at Infonetics Research. “Improvements in the efficacy and ease of management of security products could decrease the urgency to move to the cloud, and regulatory drivers are forcing some customers to keep all data on premise.”

And one last take: Business information provider Visiongain forecasted in an Aug. 2013 report that the total market value for cloud security will reach $3.2 billion by year’s end.

All these projections anticipate a growing demand for cloud security services. That’s good news for vendors like McAfee, Symantec, and SafeNet, which all offer some form of cloud-based security as a service.

Strong security has become a vital component of any cloud computing offering, especially those courting customers in finance, health care, and government, which have substantial data protection requirements.

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