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SMB cloud security spending to continue growth

Security spending among small and midsize businesses (SMBs) is expected to grow over the next four years, especially in the area of cloud implementations.

In the soon-to-be-released "2012 Global SMB Security Market Assessment," analysts at Access Markets International Partners (AMI) projected that security spending by SMBs would grow by more than 10 percent each year between 2011 and 2016. This outlay included software, hardware, managed services and software-as-a-service.

SMBs are projected to increasingly shift their security dollars toward protecting the cloud, which is defined in the report as covering both software-as-a-service and managed services, Hugh Gibbs, vice president of research and consulting for the firm's EMEA region and the principal author of the report, told on Wednesday.

Cloud security currently accounts for nearly 17 percent of total spending, or $3.3 billion, within the worldwide SMB market, according to the firm, which has offices in North America, Europe and Asia. By 2016, however, spending for cloud security is projected to jump to as much as 24 percent, or $7.7 billion, Gibbs said.

"[The] cloud delivery mechanism is the superior model for ensuring security, given the frequency things have to be updated," he said.

While there are many reasons for the shift, cost savings, the proliferation of mobile devices and the growing popularity of cloud applications and services were the primary drivers, he said.

Cloud computing and services offer access to the latest applications and infrastructure without requiring upfront investment of expensive hardware, Gibbs said.

Still, the spending trend was markedly more evident in emerging markets than in more established regions of the world, he said. Emerging markets generally don't have legacy infrastructure or relationships, so they can move right into the cloud, compared to the gradual evolution happening in more mature markets, he said, adding that the cloud gives these regions access to advanced security they may not otherwise be able to afford.

SMBs also generally don't have dedicated resources or contractors handling IT and security management on a regular basis, Gibbs said.

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