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Research Finds SMBs Investing Heavily in Cybersecurity


New research from Untangle Inc. finds that finds that, despite limited budgets and amid increasing cyberattacks, SMBs are expanding and embracing new work environments and investing in new cybersecurity technologies to protect their business.

The fourth annual SMB IT Security Report surveyed more than 740 SMBs to learn how they’ve adapted to remote and hybrid work environments, how they’ve addressed an influx of cyberattacks and to learn more about their approach to IT security. The survey shows that even with limited budget and resources, SMBs are implementing strategies to address network security issues and lay the groundwork for future investments. In fact, 80% of respondents shared that they are more secure now than they were last year.

Untangle SMB IT Security Report: Key Findings

Compared to 2020, SMBs have increased their annual IT security budgets. More small businesses – defined as those with under 25 employees – are making investments in IT. In 2020, only 28% had annual budgets of $1,000 – $5,000, compared to 35% in 2021, the survey showed.

Half (50%) of SMBs now have the majority of their employees working back in the office. However, 41% have transitioned a quarter or more of their workers to a hybrid work model permanently. That trend sees 20% of SMB respondents implementing some type of SD-WAN technology and another 19% planning to implement it or looking into doing so, according to the survey.

There continue to be barriers to better security, and SMB respondents say employees who do not follow guidelines have become the biggest (28%). Despite some budget increases, many organizations still struggle with budget constraints (27%) and a lack of manpower to monitor and manage security (18%), the survey revealed.

Digital transformation has spurred 58% of SMBs to deploy more than 10% of their IT infrastructure in the cloud – a 32% increase from 2020, according to the survey.

SMBs are Popular Targets for Cyberattacks

Scott Devens, CEO, Untangle
Scott Devens, CEO, Untangle

Finally, SMBs realize that they are increasingly popular targets of cyberattacks and are looking at IT security from a problem/solution standpoint. The majority of respondents (64%) name breaches as their top security concern, and are using firewalls (73%) and antivirus/anti-malware protection (62%) as their top IT security solutions, the survey showed.

“With a changing workplace landscape, and a continued rise in cyberattacks, SMBs have shifted their mindset from ‘It can’t happen to me’ to taking security threats seriously,” said Scott Devens, CEO at Untangle. “To that end, they have increased their focus on IT security, they have stronger networks than a year ago and have plans for further attack-prevention for the future. There’s a definite trend towards putting more IT in the cloud and following a multi-layered security approach.”

Read the full Untangle SMB IT Security Report here.