Small businesses have become more aware of the need for content security, according to a new report from research firm Canalys.

Worldwide content security spending by small businesses increased 10% in 2014, the firm says. The $2.6 billion market now represents 28% of the total enterprise content security market, compared with 27% in 2013.

During the year, investment grew as overall IT security budgets increased, the report says. Small business owners are more aware of the need to include security precautions, Canalys says, in many cases after discovering threats on their networks.

The type and sophistication of these threats has increased considerably, the report notes. Malware, phishing and spyware remain the most common forms of attack, but denial of service is becoming widespread.

Small companies are also experiencing supply chain-related attacks, in which criminals establish an indirect path to confidential data through third parties, which tend to be relatively small businesses.

While many small businesses have increased their spending, the overall state of protection remains below an effective level,” Nushin Vaiani, senior analyst at Canalys, said in a statement. “Some small businesses remain convinced that only those large enterprises they see in highly publicized news articles are the targets of cyber threats. This is a fallacy, and if these businesses do not change their attitude soon, they will fall victim to attacks.”

Delaying the deployment of preventative measures will make implementing a scalable security strategy difficult, given the growing complexity of IT infrastructure due to the trends of bring-your-own device, virtualization and cloud computing, the report says.

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