Ensuring strong information security isn’t just a concern of large enterprises. Investments in content security by small businesses worldwide will see a compound annual growth rate of 7.8 percent between 2014 and 2017, according to a new report by Canalys.

The global market for small businesses grew 5 percent in 2013, reaching $2.4 billion in value. This represented 28 percent of all content security market spend during the year, according to the research firm.

“In 2013, IT security became more important to small businesses, driving overall security budgets upwards,” Nushin Vaiani, senior analyst at Canalys, said in a statement. “Small businesses are beginning to understand the need to demonstrate to customers that their information is being handled securely, especially in light of numerous data breaches and the NSA scandal.”

Vendors are concentrating on providing tailored products to suit small businesses, which the report defines as companies with fewer than 100 employees. These offerings focus on simple deployment, a combination of data protection features and ease of management, said Karissa Chua, Canalys research analyst.

As a result, competition within the market has intensified, and during the last year vendors reduced average selling prices while at the same time increasing the number of features available in their products. This has provided small businesses with greater choice and better value for their investment, Canalys says.

The firm forecasts that small business investment in hosted security services will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36 percent through 2017.

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