IT security vendors should start paying closer attention the small business market as content security spend is expected to skyrocket in the next few years.
A new forecast from market research firm Canalys predicts that small businesses worldwide will spend upwards of $3.3 billion in 2017.
Researchers expect small business investment in hosted security services will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36 percent within the next three years.
Canalys senior analyst Nushin Vaiani explained in Thursday's report that smaller businesses are growing more keen on hosted services that can be managed by a third-party, especially as prices start to come down and become more competitive.
Not to mentioned heightened awareness about IT security and data protection -- either from hackers or even government agencies -- has also spurned more interest.
In 2013, IT security became more important to small businesses, driving overall security budgets upwards. 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.
Aside from these businesses and their respective clients, the parties that most likely stand to benefit from this awareness are the security vendors themselves.
Canalys pegged Trend Micro as the current leader as of the end of 2013, trailed by Symantec, McAfee, and Kaspersky Lab, respectively.
While analysts did not offer theories about which vendors might lead this particular segment over the next three years, Canalys did hint at Kaspersky coming on stronger, describing it as a "high-growth vendor" that has bumped up the number of licences available to match "an aggressive pricing strategy."
Image via Canalys