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29% of Small Businesses Spend Less Than $1,000 on IT Security Annually and Why They Are The Most Targeted

September 2, 2019

The digital and network footprint of small businesses is continually growing. Online commerce, social media, remote workers, and cloud-based IT infrastructure are just a few of the examples. With such a large digital presence, cybersecurity has to be a top priority for everyone. But businesses are not spending enough on security to combat the clear and present danger they face.

2019 SMB IT Security Report

The 2019 SMB IT Security Report from Untangle reveals 29% of small businesses spend less $1,000 on IT security annually. This is despite the fact that 80% of the businesses in the survey say IT security remains a top priority.

Granted not every small business can afford to pay more than their budget allows, but a security breach can shut your business down permanently. So, cybersecurity has to be prioritized with the urgency it deserves and within the limitations of your budget. And this is what Timur Kovalev, Chief Technology Officer at Untangle, addressed in the press release for the report.

Kovalev says, “Despite several limitations including budgets, time and workforce constraints, SMBs are now, more than ever, reassessing their investments into IT security.”

“In addition to must-have SMB IT features, such as firewalls and end-to-end network security, cloud-based services and distributed workforces have highlighted the need for SD-WAN solutions to establish secure connections between globally dispersed locations, offering further network-wide control and visibility for threats and attacks.”

Survey Takeaway

The 2019 SMB IT Security Report is a survey of more than 300 SMBs around the world. According to Untangle, the goal of the survey is to learn more about the state of IT security of SMBs. This includes IT trends on budget and resource constraints, breaches, IT infrastructure, cloud adoption, and the general state of IT.

As the report rightly points out, attacks on small businesses are continuing to increase. And it goes on to say, there needs to be a cost-efficient and scalable unified threat management solution for them.

So, how much are small businesses spending on IT security?

Close to a third or 29% spend less than $1,000 annually and an almost equal number (26%) say they don’t know their budget. This means 55% are either not spending enough or don’t know what they are spending on one of the most important facets of a company with a digital presence.

SMB IT Budgets

Image: Untangle

Moving on, 19% say they spend less than $5K a year followed by 16% who spend more than $10K a year, and 10% spend less than $10K a year.

Whether companies are spending more or less, they are aware of the threats they face. As 56% of the respondents pointed out, recent security breaches affect their strategies and security roadmap moving forward. One of these strategies includes taking proactive measures to protect a remote workforce and physical locations.

Protecting More Locations

In the survey, 39% of the respondents say they now have at least five employee locations. Another 12% identify more than 25 employee-based locations. And as more small businesses continue to use remote workers, the numbers are going to increase.

SMB Physical Locations


Image: Untangle

This brings a host of challenges for companies in certain industries. Financial and healthcare segments have to abide by strict regulatory compliances. Protecting how the data is transmitted and stored is critically important to not violate the regulations.

At least 24% of the respondents have or plan to implement an SD-WAN solution to mitigate their risk. But the future will require a more vigilant SMB community to protect and ward off the eventual attacks.

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