Cyberthreat Index

Q4 Cyberthreat Index for Business

Zix | AppRiver Survey: Small Businesses Believe They Will be Targets of Cyberattacks by Foreign Adversaries in 2020.

New Research from Zix | AppRiver highlights small and midsize businesses’ concerns over increased cyberattacks by nation-states; reveals how they plan to improve their security posture next year.

New Research from Zix | AppRiver highlights small and midsize businesses’ concerns over increased cyberattacks by nation-states; reveals how they plan to improve their security posture next year.


Gulf Breeze, FL – December 3, 2019 – AppRiver, a Zix (NASDAQ: ZIXI) company and leading channel-first provider of security, productivity and compliance solutions, today announced the findings of its Q4 Cyberthreat Index for Business Survey, uncovering the top cybersecurity concerns and mitigation strategies among small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as they move into 2020.

With cybersecurity concerns already mounting ahead of the 2020 presidential election, SMB executives are turning their attention to how these threats could impact their own business. According to the survey, 93 percent believe that as foreign adversaries attempt to breach national security or wage cyberwar, they will use small businesses such as their own as entry points. Among them, two-thirds expect this threat to become even more severe.

“In 2019, we saw cyberattacks on our government trickle down from large agencies to smaller local municipalities and schools,” said Dave Wagner, CEO, Zix. “That follows the pattern we’ve seen in business, where attacks have expanded from big corporations to small- and medium-sized businesses. While these attacks can originate from anywhere, the survey data shows that SMBs believe foreign actors and even nation-states may be targeting them as the first step toward access to larger companies or government agencies.”


This, among other cybersecurity concerns, could be a possible driver behind SMBs’ plan to shore up their security investment and defenses in 2020. Sixty-two percent of all SMBs plan to increase their cybersecurity budgets in 2020. Among the list of cybersecurity upgrades they’d like to make, their highest priorities include employing more cybersecurity technology (58 percent), creating better security awareness training for their employees (57 percent) and conducting more regular reviews of their security defenses (50 percent). These findings are in line with other key results from the survey, which indicate that only 43 percent of all SMBs currently feel in-control and confident in their own cyber preparedness. 

SMBs within the government and technology sectors are among those most concerned about nation-state cyberattacks on their business in 2020. Executives within these industries also have the highest propensity to increase their cybersecurity budgets in 2020, with 77 percent of technology SMBs and 76 percent government SMBs planning to increase their budgets in the coming year. 

“It seems unusual that small and midsize companies are concerned about foreign powers, but with elections coming up in 2020, they have legitimate reasons to worry about becoming vulnerable entry points for outside entities,” said Troy Gill, senior cybersecurity analyst at AppRiver. “The silver lining is that they are actively planning to improve their security with new technology and better training for employees, which together, are a powerful combination.”

About the Survey

The survey polled 1,049 cybersecurity decision-makers within U.S. SMBs (fewer than 250 employees), covering a diverse range of industry sectors. 

The Zix | AppRiver quarterly Cyberthreat Index for Business Survey measures SMB decision-maker attitudes and experiences across a variety of cybersecurity-related dimensions, culminating in a score that can be analyzed for change over time. The Q4 Index registered a score of 60.1 on a 100-point scale, holding steady after the previous quarter (60.5 in Q3) and indicating that SMBs are continuing to become more aware of today’s imminent cyberthreats and are making strides toward improving their security posture.

The complete Q4 Cyberthreat Index for Business Survey report can be downloaded here

About AppRiver
AppRiver, a Zix company, is a channel-first provider of cloud-enabled security and productivity services, with a 4,500-strong reseller community that protects 60,000 companies worldwide against a growing list of dangerous online threats. Among the world’s top Office 365 and Secure Hosted Exchange providers, the company’s brand is built on highly effective security services backed by 24/7 white-glove Phenomenal Care® customer service. AppRiver is headquartered in Gulf Breeze, Florida and maintains offices in Georgia, Texas, New York, Canada, Switzerland, and the U.K. For more information, please visit

About Zix Corporation

Zix Corporation (Zix) is a leader in email security. Trusted by the nation’s most influential institutions in healthcare, finance and government, Zix delivers a superior experience and easy-to-use solutions for email encryption and data loss prevention, advanced threat protection, unified information archiving and mobile security. Focusing on the protection of business communication, Zix enables its customers to better secure data and meet compliance needs. Zix is publicly traded on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol ZIXI. For more information, visit