The survey is an evaluation of network security risks undertaken by small and medium-size enterprises and measures their attitudes and behaviors regarding their security. More specifically, the survey presents questions on user owned products/services on network, confidence and risk with network security products currently used, past and future product usage, purchasing channels, network security budgets and top ranked providers of information systems, products, and services.
For the first time Frost & Sullivan is covering the network security market from a new angle, the small and medium-size enterprise IT decision maker perspective. Covering this market gained some powerful insight for network security product and service vendors, which is likely overlooked as vendors focus on the large-size enterprise market.
According to the survey, IT decision makers in small and medium-size enterprises may not be as tech-savvy as those working in large-size enterprises. This is attributed to small and medium-size enterprise IT decision makers having multiple roles (i.e., owner, etc.) within their organization.
"Given that small and medium-size enterprise IT decision makers wear many hats, they are likely novices regarding network security," comments Tonya Fowler, Global Director with Frost & Sullivan's Customer Research Team. "Small and medium-size enterprises may not be fully aware of the dangers lurking for unsuspecting, unprotected networks. Vendors have opportunities to partner with these less sophisticated IT decision makers and could relieve these over-taxed IT decision makers of the daunting task of securing their networks."
Firewalls and anti-virus software are the most prevalent security measures most small and medium-size enterprises currently have in place. For some smaller enterprises, these measures might suffice. However, more sophisticated and layered protection is likely a better protection plan. Overall, most small and medium-size enterprises are at least "moderately confident" in their current network security products/services and do not believe they are "at risk." However, significantly more medium-size enterprises have back-up measures in place, compared to small-size enterprises.
"These results clearly illustrate the bifurcation in the small and medium-size enterprise market. While medium-size enterprises are certainly ahead of their smaller counterparts, there are still significant percentages of respondents that do not have even basic policies in place," comments Robert Ayoub, Global Director of the Network Security Practice at Frost & Sullivan.
Surprisingly, security policies in small and medium-size enterprises are driven by situations rather than industry best practices. Enterprises appear to make their decisions more around whether there is a perceived problem or not. Specifically, many personal employee devices (i.e., laptops, smartphones, etc.) are allowed on company networks, despite whether or not a company policy for allowing or disallowing use is established. Survey results show that small and medium-size enterprises allow unsafe network practices for employee convenience, and not for security purposes.
As a final point, the small and medium-size enterprise market has likely not been the primary target of network security product/service vendors, given the complexity of customizing marketing approaches, etc. Yet, overall, this market is likely overconfident in their current network security systems and needs additional protection. For those network security product/service vendors who are willing to take the time with IT decision makers within small and medium-size enterprises, this might be an expansion into a new market.
This survey was conducted by Frost & Sullivan's Customer Research Team, working in conjunction with Frost & Sullivan's Information & Communication Technologies Practice. Specifically, the Customer Research Team conducts independent, unbiased research among end users to evaluate and measure companies and trends in the market.
For more information, please send an email to Jake Wengroff, Corporate Communications, at jake.wengroff[.]frost.com, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company email address, company website, city, state and country. Upon receipt of the above information, an overview will be sent to you by email.
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