The need for more sophisticated security systems to protect against the growing threat of cyber crime has been highlighted by new statistics from Gartner.
According to the research company, worldwide security software revenue totalled $19.2 billion (£12.53 billion) last year - a 7.9 per cent increase on 2011's revenue.
The evolution of working practices and new threats were cited as the biggest driving forces behind the spending on security.
Despite the huge expense already devoted to online protection, security will continue to be a top priority across all technology categories in the small to medium-sized businesses market, predicts Ruggero Contu, research director at Gartner.
Gartner also believes the security software will need to adapt to a more flexible workforce, as employers increasingly make use of remote access, home working and bring your own device policies.
There was significant worldwide variations in the global pattern, with Eurasia seeing the highest growth in demand for cyber security last year.