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The death of the SMB/enterprise distinction? November 20, 2009

Posted by jonathanpenn in trends & futures, value.

There are several topics mentioned in my last past that I want to return to. But first, I want to make one observation that I hope will generate some new thinking. One trend I’ve been seeing play out over the past two years, and is also borne out by Forrester’s most recent Security Survey of roughly 2,000 security decision-makers, is that company size (ie, SMB vs. enterprise) should longer be the principal segmentation variable in developing solutions and taking them to market.

The blurring between SMB and enterprise is happening for two reasons.

  1. SMBs are hit just as hard as large companies by regulations such as PCI and HIPAA, and from sophisticated security requirements and contractual obligations required by their enterprise partners (mostly in response to data breach disclosure laws).
  2. Large enterprises are now under pressure to cut or maintain current levels of staffing and  to be more operationally efficient. Moreover, they are trying to perform more strategic work in light of the increasing business needs around security. As a result, they are rethinking how their security programs are structured and making decisions about what kinds of competencies they need to keep in house, and what competencies they don’t need to acquire but can shift to a managed services provider.

So the challenges that were unique to enterprise – complex security policies and regulatory requirements – are now shared by SMBs. And the challenges that were unique to SMBs – staffing and skills pressures – are now shared by enterprises.

That begs the question: Is anything replacing company size as the key variable in segmenting the market?

I’ll leave my thoughts on that for the next post. But please feel free to share yours here in the meantime.


1. Verticals will replace SMB/enterprise segmentation « Cyberia - December 7, 2009

[…] December 7, 2009 Posted by jonathanpenn in trends & futures, value. trackback As I posted earlier, it doesn’t make much sense anymore to make distinctions between SMBs and enterprises. When […]

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