DALLAS, March 13, 2019. Small and mid-size enterprises (SME)s are increasing their cybersecurity budgets by 14% in 2019, according to a new study titled: Small and Mid-Size Enterprises Are Making Big Strides in Cybersecurity, But Big Decisions Loom Ahead sponsored by cloud security provider Armor and conducted by 451 Research.  This is  good news. The bad news is that the volume of security alerts these organizations are receiving has grown so much that their security teams cannot process them all. As a result, one-quarter of the alerts they receive daily are being ignored.

These are just two of the findings from the Armor study, where 451 Research surveyed  executives and IT/security directors of 250 small and mid-size enterprises (250-5,000 employees) about their current state of cybersecurity, the security projects they have planned and the challenges they are facing.

Small and Mid-Size Enterprises Make Cybersecurity Improvements

The conversations with the survey participants reveal that enterprises have made some significant strides in improving their cybersecurity posture.  For example, in addition to more than 80% of the SMEs reporting they are increasing their cybersecurity budgets by 14% this year, over 89% of the participating companies state that they now have a single executive leader (e.g. a CISO, CSO or VP of InfoSecurity) whose primary responsibility is information security . According to 451 Research, this is a significant improvement compared to previous survey data where only 53% of enterprises reported having an executive leader solely responsible for security.

Another positive finding is that 59% of the study participants said, that on average, they are able to respond to security alerts in less than one hour. Eighty-three percent  indicated that, on average, they are able to investigate and remediate confirmed threats in less than six hours.  These are all noteworthy advancements.

SMEs Battle Cybersecurity Challenges: Cloud, Advanced Threats, Lack of Threat Intelligence

As to be expected, the study also revealed that there are still several key security challenges facing SMEs.  For example, sixty four percent of the participating SMEs said they are handling cloud security on their own, although they indicate that cloud security is one of their top security challenges. Certainly as companies continue to move more of their workloads to the cloud, not knowing how to appropriately secure cloud data, is a significant concern which must be addressed because cybercriminals are definitely attacking cloud data with as much vigor, as data being hosted on-premise.  In fact, Armor reported that it detected and neutralized over 681 million cyberattacks launched at their 1,200 cloud clients in 2018.

An even more serious survey finding, which was cited previously, was the fact that the SMEs are only able to investigate three-quarters of the security alerts they receive daily.  This means that the SMEs are having to leave one-quarter by the wayside.  The organizations explained that this was due to a combination of competing priorities, a lack of resources, a lack of threat intelligence and a lack of automation.  This is certainly alarming because, what if in that group of ignored alerts, a serious threat is lurking?

Out of all the challenges the study uncovered, the respondents reported that detecting and stopping advanced and emerging threats is the biggest obstacle facing their organizations. This assessment is certainly to be believed since the SMEs clearly stated that they lack sufficient resources, threat intelligence and automation, which are all required to effectively defend against the increasingly sophisticated cyberthreat landscape.   An important theme underlying many of the challenges outlined in the study was the participants’ concern around their ability to protect their ever-expanding and increasingly complicated IT environment, which now  includes traditional on-premises infrastructure, legacy environments and cloud infrastructures, all of which have different security challenges.

Good News is on the Horizon

Even with all of these obstacles, the Armor study does signal some good news for SMEs.   The study found that the participants are putting several programs in place in 2019 to combat these challenges. They include investing in additional or improved security tools, investing in threat intelligence and improving their visibility,  across clouds and on-premise infrastructures. Plus, they have a plan to fund these improvements.  The SMEs said they expect to spend a greater percentage of their budgets on security tools delivered from the cloud.

“These improvements, combined with the willingness of the SMEs to increase their cybersecurity budgets and designate an executive to focus on information security, is a positive signal that these companies are taking cybersecurity seriously,” said Josh Bosquez, Chief Technology Officer for Armor. “There will always be challenges in maintaining one’s security posture, no matter the size of the organization, so I am definitely optimistic when I see small and mid-size enterprises making significant strides to improve their cybersecurity efforts.

“Small and mid-size enterprises, faced with the same threats and challenges as large enterprises, are making significant strides in improving their overall security posture,” said Aaron Sherrill, Senior Analyst for 451 Research. “With cybersecurity threats on the rise, it’s encouraging to see that SMEs are moving beyond basic security and are now tackling the more complex issues that come with the shift to a hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure.”

Download Full Report and Register for the Webinar

To download the study:  New Survey Reveals Small and Mid-Size Enterprises are Making Big Strides in Cybersecurity, But Big Decisions Loom Ahead, visit  here.

To register to attend the Armor and 451 Research webinar on Thursday, March 14 at noon Central Standard Time; visit here.

About Armor

Armor is a cloud security company that takes the complexity out of protecting your data, whether it resides in a private, public, or hybrid cloud—or in an on-premise IT environment. We provide managed security solutions that give you a clear picture of threats facing your organization. This allows us to provide you with the people and security resources to stop attacks before they happen and react quickly and effectively when they do, keeping your data safe and compliant. Wherever you are on your cloud journey, Armor can help. We make cybersecurity simple. To learn more,  www.armor.com follow @armor on Twitter.

About 451 Research

451 Research is a preeminent information technology research and advisory company.  With a core focus on technology innovation and market disruption, we provide essential insight for leaders of the digital economy. More than 100 analysts and consultants deliver that insight via syndicated research, advisory services and live events to over 1,000 client organizations in North America, Europe and around the world. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in New York, 451 Research is a division of The 451 Group.

Resource Center

More security resources at your fingertips.

Practical Content for Security, DevOps, & IT Professionals