Medium businesses in the US to invest US$7.8B on storage and security

Medium-sized businesses (MBs or companies with 100-999 employees) in the United States are on track to invest up to US$7.8 billion on data storage and security this year, up 12% over 2007. This steady growth is due to the need to consistently update and guard against security breaches and the growing volume of employee/client data, according to the latest study by New York based Access Markets International (AMI) Partners Inc.

When handling sensitive data, security and storage are top of mind concerns among US-based MBs. The AMI study found that storage and security investments account for 9% (about US$7.8 billion) of total IT/telecom spending.

Preventing hard-drive failures and electronic attacks while having an adequate storage solution are the main goals for US MBs. Deploying in-house or hosted data backup and disaster recovery solutions is seen as a top IT-related issue by almost 70% of MBs. Nearly all MBs said they backed up their data on LAN servers. This means MBs are actively competing to remain lead software and hardware IT adopters.

The average spending on SAN (server attached storage) solutions by US MBs is about US$4,900 with 20% purchasing this technology in the last 12 months. MBs tend go to their trusted channel partners/VARs/IT consultants for storage related solutions, the AMI study found.

In terms of security related strategies, about 85% of MBs said enhancing IT security and privacy is the top IT strategy for the next 12 months. Thus, awareness of security products is the top factor driving security investments for this year.

Deploying a VPN (virtual private network) is an added measure to ensure that an MB will have a secure IT infrastructure; just over half of MBs polled said they plan to implement this in the coming months. Most MBs said that their data is adequately protected from electronic threats as almost all MBs use antivirus, anti-spam and anti-spyware solutions.

US MB companies use a variety of firewall devices which includes software-based firewalls running on PCs and network servers, firewalls embedded in networking hardware and firewall appliances plugged into the network. Intrusion detection, encryption and security management are top technologies for these MBs to implement in the next 12 months, the study revealed. The most popular brand for security related products was Cisco, and for storage related products Dell is the top manufacturer purchased.

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