The 2021 Security Outcomes Study – Small and Midsize Business Edition

Thriving as a Small or Midsize Business with a Strong Cybersecurity Strategy

The 2021 Security Outcomes Study – Small and Midsize Business Edition

What makes for successful cybersecurity? Is there evidence that security investments result in measurable outcomes? How do we know what actually works and what doesn’t? These are the types of burning questions guiding Cisco’s 2021 Security Outcomes Study, which pulls together the experiences of over 4,800 IT, security, and privacy professionals around the world. This document is an offshoot of the larger study that focuses on small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

2021 Security Outcomes Study

About the survey

Over 4,800 active IT, security, and privacy professionals from around the world participated in our 2021 Security Outcomes Study. Of those participants, 857 represented SMBs, and their responses form the basis of this follow-up report.


Cisco contracted a survey research firm, YouGov, to field a fully anonymous (source and respondent) survey that ran during the middle of 2020.


We surveyed over 4,800 active IT, security, and privacy professionals from 25 countries. About 18% of respondents represented SMBs.


The Cyentia Institute independently analyzed the survey data on behalf of Cisco and generated all results presented in this study.


  • We asked respondents about their organization’s adherence to 25 security practices spanning governance, strategy, spending, architecture, and operations.

  • We then asked about each company’s level of success across roughly a dozen high-level security objectives or outcomes organized into three main categories: Enabling Business, Managing Risk, and Operating Efficiently.

Defending organisations against cyber threats is tough for any business, regardless of size. But it’s particularly true for SMBs because their resources are typically limited, and they must be laser focused on only making investments that will bring impactful results. The stakes are higher, and prioritising what’s most important is critical for success. Helping to identify those priorities is what this report is all about.

Read on to discover how SMBs compare to larger enterprises when it comes to security, and what key factors contributed to successful security planning in companies like yours.  Download the 2021 Security Outcomes Study via the button below.

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