Market researcher IDC predicts security software sales in the Asia-Pacific region will surge by double digits in 2010 as enterprise customers loosen their purse strings to safeguard their most sensitive and business-critical data.

According to study data released last week in IDC's Asia/Pacific Semiannual Security Software Tracker report, the security and vulnerability management (SVM) sector will see an increase of at least 19 percent this year -- the biggest move among security applications in the region.

Secure content and threat management applications (SCTM) is expected to jump 18.4 percent to more than $1.13 billion in the Asia-Pacific region while identity and access management (IAM) software is pegged for a 15.2 percent increase to just over $326 million.

"The rise in the security market is fueled by the increasingly sophisticated threats and management overheads facing each IT organization," IDC analyst Judy Wu said in a statement included in the report.

"The security landscape has been seeing new threats growing explosively in number and complexity attacks that exploit the vulnerabilities of applications, insider sabotages, identity fraud and unauthorized access to corporate systems and networks," she added.

Despite the increased risk and sophistication of these attacks, last year companies of all sizes balked at increasing their IT security budgets.

McAfee found that the average midsized company in 2009 lost $43,000 to security breaches and overall cyber attack exploded up 322 percent worldwide.

And while 71 percent of IT directors at small and midsized businesses said they believe there is some chance a serious data breach that could put their company out of business, 70 percent admitted that they had frozen or reduced their IT security budgets.

That paradox appears to be coming to an end after several high-profile attacks on companies such as Google, Adobe and Yahoo has convinced IT directors and, more important, C-level executives that scrimping on security software is bad business.

Meanwhile, according to IDC, the purchasing and deployment of security products over the years has increased management and integration complexity. The excess workload due to the sheer number of systems and applications that an IT organization needs to manage has forced companies to adopt advanced security tools to automate their operational requirements as much as possible.

That's great news for large security software vendors such as McAfee (NYSE: MFE) and Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) as well as the soup-to-nuts vendors such as IBM (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) and SAP (NYSE: SAP) that integrate the key security apps with customers' core middleware and business application suites.

"Regulatory compliance requirement is also a significant driver for security solutions," Wu said. "Many of these companies have turned to SVM products to establish a security management framework for various compliance requirements such as policy compliance, log archiving and auditing."

According the report, Asia-Pacific enterprise customers will spend slightly more than $1.5 billion on security software in 2010 but that figure is expected to surge to almost $2.5 billion by 2013.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.