A Sure Cure

Security will be a Key Investment Priority among Asia Pacific SMBS in 2008
by: Jerry Liao

Small and medium businesses (SMBs, or companies with up to 999 employees) are on track to spend a whopping US$2.8 billion on IT security across the Asia-Pacific region next year, up some 26% over 2007. The four key markets in the region – Australia, South Korea, India, and China – will account for more than 75% of Asia’s total security spend in 2008, with China alone accounting for well over 33% of the total spend.

This comes from the latest study by Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc. “Nearly 25% of the total spend will continue to remain in traditional security areas such as antivirus, anti-spam and anti-phishing software,” says Nishant Dave, AMI Singapore-based Research Director for the Asia-Pacific. “However, this only forms the first layer of basic protection that SMBs in the region are considering from a security point of view. SMBs in the region are now looking at expanding the domain of their security investments to match the scale of their current IT infrastructure and their expansion plans.”

As SMBs evolve from building the basic IT infrastructure to deploying technologies that enable intra-enterprise connectivity—servers, websites and high-speed broadband—they will increasingly look at setting up network-based security solutions. These will involve deploying network firewalls, improving email security, document access control and encryption-enabling solutions. “More than 200,000 new SMBs across the Asia-Pacific region will deploy a network firewall solution in 2008 in a bid to protect their evolved IT infrastructure,” Mr. Dave notes.

Among the four key countries, many SMBs in mature markets such as Australia and South Korea have moved beyond deploying intra-enterprise connectivity. They are now looking at taking the next leap toward extending their businesses—to their suppliers, partners and customers. “Deploying enterprise applications such as an ERP (enterprise resource planning), collaborative applications and enhancing communication systems form a key investment priority to enable their business transformation,” Mr. Dave says. These SMBs, having installed point solutions for security, are now looking at holistic security solutions which can scale up to their ever-increasing infrastructure requirements, as well as expanding business units and branches.

Medium businesses (MBs, or companies with 100-999 employees) are looking for enhanced security services. These will help MBs assess the vulnerability of their current infrastructure, as well as help them deploy security solutions to match their needs from both a current and planned growth perspective. As assessment of operational risk gains importance in a volatile economic environment, MBs will look at deploying enterprise-class security solutions which can scale as their business grows.

In the Asia-Pacific region, MBs are set to spend US$1.77 billion on security solutions in 2008, up some 27% over 2007. About 25% of this spend will be on security-related services. These include both product support as well as professional services around architecting and managing their security infrastructure. “Security spending by MBs in China and India is on track to grow by more than 25% in 2008 over 2007,” Mr. Dave says. “MBs in both mature and emerging markets will remain the sweet spot of advanced IT security solutions spend in 2008.”

AMI’s study, titled The Global Forecast Model, provides a detailed picture of IT adoption and spending patterns in the SMB space across 66 different IT technology sub-categories and 14 Asia/Pacific countries, with roll-ups to regional views. The number of businesses and their spending on various technologies — including wireless LANs, IP PBXs, VoIP, outsourced IT services, storage, VPNs/firewalls, intrusion detection, CRM, ERP/SCM — are examined in depth across the 2006 to 2012 timeframe. The study also provides drill-down views of each of these technologies by eight employee-size and 19 vertical-market segments, and serves as the industry’s most comprehensive worldwide SMB market planning tool.

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