Security is a focal point for SMB IT spending
on infotech security is set to grow remarkably in 2006; last year it grew by
63 percent, says AMI Partners. An in-depth look at Indian SMB spending on IT
by Neha Jalan, Research Analyst & Consultant, AMI-Partners.
Small and medium businesses in India are on track to cross
$133.6 million on beefing up their IT security solutions this year, buoyed by
their adoption of sophisticated enterprise applications and advanced storage
solutions. Thats a jump of 53 percent over last year, which in turn saw
infotech security spending leap 63 percent over 2004, according to the latest
study by New York-based AMI-Partners.
As Indias SMBs (with employee sizes between 1 and 999)
embrace the benefits of Internet access, network connectivity and increased
storage capacity, IT security has become a focal point for these businesses.
Many SMBs have seen the loss in productivity and have experienced the damage
that online viruses can inflict.
With the explosive growth of the Internet, the advent of
broadband always-on technology, and the increased prevalence of
viruses and malicious worms, data security has assumed greater significance.
The increasing options for remote connectivity as well as expanding number of
critical applications that are accessed remotely have made businesses more vulnerable
to unauthorised access.
One of the primary factors hindering the widespread use of
security solutions has been a lack of awareness among Indian SMBs. However,
the upsurge in security solutions adoption is the result of pressure from both
internal and external factors.
These include deployment of broadband connectivity, integration
of various business applications, usage of hosted applications and increased
interaction with global business partners. The SMB security market presents
an enormous opportunity for IT vendors. More than a third of SBs (1 to 99 employees)
and 42 percent of MBs (100 to 999 employees) rated the need to enhance enterprise
IT security as important and very important.
Indian SMBs are gradually progressing from the first
stage of security solutions adoption to deploying sophisticated bundled offerings.
AMIs latest studies on Indias SMBs show that 83 percent of these
businesses have installed anti-virus software on their PCs and 30 percent of
medium businesses also deploy anti-spam software. Additionally, the majority
of SMBs have deployed a software-based firewall on their PCs or LAN servers.
Packaged software solutions such
as anti-virus, anti-spam and software-based firewalls have traditionally
been touted as fundamental solutions for SMBs. However, as businesses
become increasingly dependent on their networks for data storage and retrieval
as well as interaction and collaboration with business partners, the need
to safeguard data and remain in operation 24/7 becomes acute
Packaged software solutions such as anti-virus and anti-spam
and software-based firewalls have traditionally been touted as fundamental solutions
for SMBs. However, as businesses become increasingly dependent on their networks
for data storage and retrieval as well as interaction and collaboration with
business partners, the need to safeguard data and remain in operation 24/7 becomes
acute. As a result, Indias progressive medium businesses are looking for
adoption and implementation of network security appliances such as network firewall,
VPNs and intrusion detection.
Given their limited budgets and in-house IT skills and resources,
SMBs need products that are easy to adopt and maintain. Until now, Indian SMBs
were focussed on deploying stand-alone security solutions. However, as vendors
offer point-based solutions to counter different kinds of attacks, users face
the challenge of integrating these various solutions.
This has led to the emergence of integrated security solutions
as one of the fastest-growing segments in the SMB security market. As a result,
all leading security vendors have introduced integrated security products containing
entry-level security solutions such as anti-virus, anti-spyware, intrusion prevention
and personal firewall.
Indian SMBs prefer to manage their security deployment internally,
and as most are still investing in basic security products, this strategy has
been effective. Nevertheless, as businesses progress towards deploying firewalls,
VPNs and IDS, managed security services offer the twin benefits of convenience
and cost-effectiveness. Less than a tenth of medium businesses currently invest
in managed security services, but this service is anticipated to grow much faster
than traditional security solutions in the near future.
Decision-makers In SMBs
Among Indian small businesses,
the business owner/president is the primary decision-maker for all IT
security solution investments. The business owner is not only responsible
for the final purchase decision, but also identifies the purchase need
and selects the configuration and brand
Among Indias small businesses, the business owner/president
is the primary decision-maker for all IT security solution investments. The
business owner is not only responsible for the final purchase decision, but
also identifies the purchase need and selects the configuration and brand.
Therefore, educating small business owners on the plus points
of IT adoption, and the advantages one brand offers over another is an important
focus area for IT vendors. This is one of the major ways in which the segment
will see increased adoption of best practices and proper IT implementations.
However, among medium businesses, decision-making for IT
purchases is more evenly split between three groups of key personnelthe
non-IT senior management, the in-house IT personnel, and the office manager/departmental