By Maximilian Clarke

Total worldwide investment in enterprise security is expected to grow 8.7% in 2012 to reach a market value of $22.9 billion, with demand for anti-virus software from small businesses contributing to the increased growth, Canalys research shows.

Currently accounting for 11.3% of the total market, the anti-virus (AV) segment will remain one of the strongest parts of the security industry next year, and is expected to increase by 6.8% year-on-year. Though a mature technology, AV software continues to drive revenue for many resellers, both large and small. It is the first step most small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) take in securing their infrastructure.

Moving forward, Canalys anticipates that results in the SME market will define security vendor leadership. Smaller vendors are working to displace Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro in this segment, thanks to their noted reputations in the consumer space. Kaspersky Lab, one of the fastest growing AV vendors, is using its strong retailer relationships and powerful consumer brand to successfully confront incumbents for example. Other vendors, such as Panda Security, F-Secure, ESET and AVG, are increasingly gaining market share, posing a serious threat to top-tier vendors.

“Demand for AV technologies varies depending on customer size,” said Canalys Research Analyst Nushin Hernandez. "SMEs are typically looking for base-level protection from online threats, while larger organizations generally have clear security strategies in place.”

“SMEs do not see themselves as targets for hackers, and many do not invest in full perimeter security. What they fail to realize is that security risks to businesses of all sizes are prevalent. The need to secure sensitive data is more critical than ever.”

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