DigitalOcean Survey Finds SMBs Prioritizing IT and Cloud Security

August 27, 2020

New report highlights unique needs, finds SMBs are still hiring despite COVID-19 

NEW YORK, August 27, 2020 -- DigitalOcean, the cloud for developing modern apps, today announced the results of the latest seasonal installment of its Currents report, dedicated to uncovering the challenges of today's small-and-medium size businesses (SMBs). The report polled 500 founders and technical decision-makers at tech companies with fewer than 1,000 employees to better understand the unique needs of startups and SMBs in a cloud market that often overlooks them in favor of larger enterprises. The survey revealed insights into the technical challenges SMBs face, as well as how COVID-19 has impacted their security, cloud spend, and hiring.

“Small- and medium-size businesses are the unsung heroes of the economy, employing half of the workforce and comprising nearly 90 percent of all registered businesses around the world,” said Yancey Spruill, CEO at DigitalOcean. “Despite being hit hard by stay-at-home orders, many SMBs have adapted quickly by bringing their operations online. COVID-19 has accelerated the trend of SMBs migrating to the cloud, signaling a growing need to better serve these businesses. Our survey results paint a dual picture of where SMB priorities lie in cloud spending, IT security and hiring, as well as how these businesses have been impacted by the pandemic.’’

Key findings of the report include:

  • Technical infrastructure challenges are a barrier to entry for new businesses 

    • 71% of company founders cite the cost of maintaining technical infrastructure as the top technical barrier.
    • Other common challenges include knowledge about maintaining technical infrastructure (65%) and the costs to lift and shift part or all of infrastructure (57%).
  • IT security is the top priority for SMB cloud customers, overtaking factors like reliability and affordability when evaluating a cloud service

    • 91% rank security among their top three priorities with 59% of respondents ranking it as their number-one priority.
    • Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents indicated that more than half of their company’s budget goes toward IT security.
    • Security features like firewalls and data protection are the two most essential features for decision makers when evaluating cloud services.
  • SMBs are still hiring, and investing in remote work infrastructure in the COVID-19 era

    • Sixty-two percent of respondents say that they expanded or upgraded their cloud usage during COVID-19, while only 2% consolidated or eliminated it.
    • Nearly three quarters (74%) of respondents indicated that hiring targets have increased or remained steady as a result of COVID-19. 
    • Further, 40% of respondents report that more than half of the technical positions they are hiring for offer the ability to work remotely. The most in-demand roles are service reliability engineer, DevOps manager and frontend developer/engineer.
  • Demand for digital services in India far outpaces demand in the U.S., signaling the world’s next tech hot spot

    • About 30% of survey respondents were from India, compared with 50% from the United States. Respondents in India reported greater spending on IT security and the cloud, higher demand for cloud services in the next 3-6 months, and significantly more ambitious hiring targets

“Despite the unprecedented challenges the pandemic has created, small businesses are increasingly leaning on the cloud to grow their businesses,” Spruill added. “It’s clear that serving the unique infrastructure and security needs of these organizations can no longer be an afterthought in the ever-expanding cloud services market.”

Read or download the full report here.


An online survey was conducted among a panel of potential respondents. The recruitment period was June 17, 2020 to June 21, 2020. A total of 500 panel respondents at tech companies with fewer than 1,000 employees completed the survey (excluding terminations and abandonments) from four countries: United States (250), India (150), Canada and the United Kingdom (100 combined).  

The sample was provided by Market Cube, a research panel company. All respondents were invited to take the survey via an email invitation. Panel respondents were incentivized to participate via the panel’s established points program. 


DigitalOcean and its Developer Cloud simplify modern app creation for new generations of developers — from individual developers to entrepreneurs at startups and SMBs. Its infrastructure and platform-as-a-service (IaaS and PaaS) solutions provide a "no DevOps required" experience, allowing developers to focus their energy on creating innovative software. By combining the power of simplicity, love for the developer community, an obsession for customer service, and the advantages of open source, DigitalOcean brings software development within technical and economic reach of anyone around the world. For more information, visit or follow @digitalocean on Twitter.


Angela Maglione