Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) will spend more than $5.6 billion on IT security products and services in 2015, according to a new forecast by IDC.
Overall, small business IT spending will grow five to six percent each year leading up to 2015, predicts the research firm. Small business security spending will outpace that figure, by growing by nearly twice as fast during the same period, says IDC.
Security Drives Small Business IT Spending
Why? You can credit -- or blame -- the consumerization of IT and the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend that's currently gripping businesses of all sizes and types. Although viewed as efficiency-enhancing devices, smartphones and tablets can open up new, potentially disastrous avenues that lead to data theft or loss.
Small businesses with non-existent or poorly implemented mobile security solutions and policies can face losses of $126,000 a year, according to a recent survey from Symantec and Applied Intelligence.
Few small businesses can easily shake off such a big hit to the bottom line. And it appears they are starting to get the message.
Roughly 19 percent of small businesses identify improving security and security management as a key IT spending priority, says IDC. The figure nearly doubles to 36 percent for medium-sized businesses. IDC classifies an organization with less than 100 employees as a small business and 100 to 999 employees as a medium-sized business.
These levels of awareness are also influencing small business IT buying decisions.
IDC notes that as mobile devices and cloud services adoption grows, so does the small business IT security budget in an effort to safely exploit the efficiency-enhancing benefits of smartphones, tablets and the cloud services they are helping to popularize. And once they become accustomed to those levels of spending, they're unlikely to backslide.
"SMBs are more focused on security as a way to gain access to more capabilities, but less focused on security as a cost to be reduced once minimum standards are met," says Ray Boggs, vice president for small and medium business markets research at IDC in statement.
Seizing the SMB Security Market Opportunity
Naturally, a growing small business data security market represents an opportunity for IT vendors.
Technologies and services that secure endpoints, manage identity and access, and provide security and vulnerability management will experience strong growth, according to IDC. Network, messaging and Web security solutions will also be in demand, with software-as-a-service (SaaS) and security appliances emerging as bright spots.
Providing SMB-flavored security solutions is only part of catering to this market. It takes specific skills to capture a slice of a small business IT budget. Boggs dispenses advice on how to accomplish just that.
"To meet the needs of SMB customers, vendors need to understand three components," he states. "These are: 1.) understanding the big picture SMB opportunity: 2.) understanding the product needs of SMB prospects: and 3.) understanding the SMB purchase process," informs Boggs.
Additionally, IDC identified six elements that can lead to success. These include an effective website, educational resources, purpose-built products, appliances, SaaS and channel support. The research firm notes that no one company is a leader in all six, hinting that when it comes to the small business IT security market, opportunities abound.
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