In information security, technologies change very quickly. Security has a fast cycle of innovation: product builders launch new products quickly, adapting to the needs of the market and cybersecurity defenders, with the expectation that these products and solutions will mature and become widely adopted across various industries over time.
Gartner produces annual Hype Cycle reports (for example, the Hype Cycle for Endpoint Security) for various security technology categories in order to help security leaders pinpoint the maturity stage of these categories. Understanding where any given technology is in this maturity cycle is crucial for businesses looking to adopt new solutions geared towards innovation, minimize risk, and make decisions that will achieve immediate and long-term returns on investment (ROI).
Understanding the Hype Lifecycle
Gartner created the Hype Cycle as a graphical representation of maturity in adopting technologies and applications. It provides a framework to help organizations understand the progress of technology from its inception to eventual mainstream adoption. Organizations can use the Hype Cycle to determine if a solution’s maturity aligns with their business needs.
Gartner Hype Cycle is an indicator of the maturity growth of a product type. It starts with the initial nascent steps where multiple vendors enter the “growth” market with different delivery capabilities. Inevitably, some of these products do not deliver, and the weak are eliminated from the market.
Although the names of stages, like the “Trough of Disillusionment” or the “Peak of Inflated Expectations,” may sound negative or positive, respectively, they only mark the crucial point as product categories move through stages from new to mature.
In the following stages, products move into full integration and adoption across industries as a standard technology. Third and fourth-generation products begin to appear, having integrated lessons of the past but bringing new features and optimization to the products.
Stage 1: Innovation Trigger
The Innovation Trigger stage is the first stage of the Hype Cycle and represents the initial excitement surrounding new technology. At this stage, the technology is introduced, often through a technology breakthrough, and begins to generate buzz and interest among early adopters and innovators. However, the technology is still in its infancy, and there needs to be more evidence of its practical applications and real-world benefits before more conservative industries adopt it.
The Innovation Trigger stage is characterized by high levels of hype and speculation but also by a lack of clarity and understanding of the technology’s potential impact. Fully usable products are still being designed, and the overall commercial viability is unproven to the broader market.
Stage 2: Peak of Inflated Expectations
The “Peak of Inflated Expectations” is a stage in the Gartner Hype Cycle where hype and media attention surrounding a technology reaches a high point, and unrealistic expectations may be set. This stage is often accompanied by numerous success stories driven by early publicity and early adoption. Many companies attempt to adopt the technology at this stage with some success and some failure. This is where the proper use cases for the technology begin to be defined.
Stage 3: Trough of Disillusionment
In the “Trough of Disillusionment” stage, expectations and enthusiasm for technology decline as new innovators take stage, some adopters experience low returns, and market adoption lags, leading to a subsequent drop in interest and investment. While this stage may sound negative, it is a significant turning point in the evolution of technology categories. Surviving providers refine their capabilities, and early adopters of the tech find ways to optimize their utilization. The Trough of Disillusionment is a natural part of the Hype Cycle and leads to the eventual emergence of practical applications and successful products.
For example, Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR) technology was included in the Trough of Disillusionment in the most recent Gartner Hype Cycle for Endpoint Security. Despite the name of this stage, Gartner gave CDR a Benefit Rating of High and estimates that only 5% to 20% of organizations that could find benefit from CDR are actually using it.
Stage 4: Slope of Enlightenment
The “Slope of Enlightenment” stage is where the technology starts to mature, with the benefits and limitations becoming clear. This is where early adopters and pioneers share their experience and knowledge about the technology, driving a broader understanding of its practical applications. The market reacts to this with the more mainstream adoption of the technology.
The Slope of Enlightenment is a crucial stage in the Hype Cycle, as it helps to identify the most promising uses and applications of technology, setting the stage for its eventual widespread adoption. In this stage, second and third-generation products appear from technology providers, evolving the category further.
Stage 5: Plateau of Productivity
The “Plateau of Productivity” is the final stage: the category has reached maturity, and tech adoption is widespread. In this stage, the technology is well understood, including its benefits and limitations, reading to full market integration. This is the stage where the initial hype has subsided, with the technology having commonplace implementation in practical and productive ways. The plateau does not mean experimentation and refinement have ceased but that a common and accepted functionality tier allows companies to calculate and achieve ROI.
Finding Pack Leaders
Votiro is a leader in the Content Disarm & Reconstruction (CDR) space. Votiro’s Zero Trust Content Security removes hidden malware threats from all content and unstructured data by default as it flows into your data stores, email inboxes, and onto endpoints.
The Votiro solution has already helped organizations around the globe defend against hidden threats in billions of files so far. Votiro provides immediate time-to-value and return on investment, without needing to disrupt existing architecture. With dynamic scaling, customers have the processing bandwidth they need at any moment to adapt to their needs. Votiro’s CDR protection is an API-centric solution that instantly integrates into business workflows, protecting organizations in as little as 10 minutes for our SaaS or 90 minutes from on-prem installations.
Contact us today to learn how Votiro sets the bar for preventing hidden threats in files so that your employees and systems can be secure — while maintaining productivity. And if you’re ready to try Votiro for yourself, start today with a free 30-day trial.