As someone who writes about the cost of cyberattacks and security breaches, I can confidently say that price should be a secondary concern when it comes to protecting your business’ data.

As someone who writes about the struggles of small businesses, however, I can also confidently say that price is no small consideration when it comes to purchasing anything, including software.

Add to this dilemma the struggle of hunting down the cost of specific systems—which can involve digging through buried web pages or several calls to a sales team—and your software search becomes a drawn-out nightmare.

Lucky for you, I’ve taken this task upon myself.

Many software companies offer custom pricing or different packages for specific needs, so I can’t give you exact prices for how much a network security solution will cost you individually. However, I can give you an idea of how much network security solutions cost, in general.

To do that, I’ve calculated the average cost of network security software systems, and provided a breakdown of common pricing models.

With this basic understanding of the network security software market, you’ll be better equipped to tell when you’re getting a good deal on a system. And as we all know, every small business could use a good deal or two.

The average cost of network security software

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I evaluated 50 systems in Capterra’s network security directory to calculate the average cost of network security software for a company’s first year of use. For consistency, I calculated for five users based on the company’s most basic package.

On the low end, network security systems cost as little as $50 per year; I even found two free systems for small businesses. On the higher end, systems can cost as much as $6,000 per year, with one system reaching $24,000 for a single year of use (I didn’t include this outlier in my calculations).

Overall, the data revealed that in its first year using network security software, the average small organization can expect to spend around $1,400.

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Fortunately for small businesses, most network security systems are on the lower end of the cost spectrum

Network security cost guide

The wide range between the lower and higher ends of network security cost correspond with the large variety of available solutions. On the lower end of the spectrum, you’ll find systems such as business VPNs and email security solutions, which can help protect your business from specific threat types (such as phishing scams) on a smaller scale.

Higher-priced systems are often full-featured network monitoring solutions with advanced security event logging and detection capabilities. They can help shield your organization from large-scale attacks on your network and, sometimes, predict intrusions before they even happen.

In this guide, I’ve categorized network security systems by their pricing models, but be sure to consider which system type is best for your business’ current security needs.

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Pricing model: Per license

Licensing fees have the widest cost range, often due to the level of intensity of the program. For example: for a basic email security program, the average cost is around $30 per license. For a network monitoring solution with predictive capabilities, however, you can expect to pay several thousand dollars per license.

Keep in mind that while most companies define their cost per license as “one-time” fees, typically you’ll need to pay an annual renewal or support fee to ensure that you always have the most up-do-date version of a system.

Overall, the average cost per license for one year is $1,000–$2,000.

Price range: $26–$6,000 per license

Pricing model: Per user

The users in question in this pricing scenario typically refer to anyone using the software to monitor and secure your network. You need to double check this definition, though, as some companies define users as those accessing your network, which can include your entire staff.

Regardless, the average cost of systems with this pricing model is $37 per user, per month.

Price range: $4–$130 per user, per month

Pricing model: Per endpoint or device

In networking, device or endpoint can refer to the same thing (a laptop can be both an endpoint and a device). However, an endpoint can also refer to a server or modem, which falls outside most people’s definition of a device.

Fortunately, most websites will define their terms or itemize the cost of monitoring a server compared to, say, securing a workstation. To avoid surprise fees, be sure to ask what a company means by endpoint or device if neither is clearly defined.

The average cost of systems with this pricing model is about $2.25 per device or endpoint.

Price range: $0.96–$4.50 per endpoint, per month

Pricing model: Tiered packages

A tiered package charges based on specific, included features. A lower-cost package often includes only basic or essential features, and costs increase as more features are added or as features become more advanced.

Tiered packages often include a consideration of the number of users on a network or the number of members on your networking team, but mostly with the view that as your company increases in size, you’ll need access to more advanced security monitoring tools.

The average cost of these system types is about $500 per month for basic packages that meet the needs of smaller teams.

Price range: $20–$2,000 per month

Is network security software worth it?

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As you perused all this pricing information, you probably started running some numbers with your company’s network security needs in mind. If those numbers started to look intimidating, you might be asking yourself, “Do we really need network security software right now?”

Yes, you do.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, the cost of software should be a secondary consideration when looking into network security options. While you should always be realistic about what your business can and can’t afford, you should also be realistic about the cost of security breaches.

A successful cyberattack costs the average small business victim around $90,000. That’s without considering the cost to your organization’s reputation when your customers and clients lose faith in your ability to protect their data.

In fact, it takes so much time, effort, and money to repair the damage done by a cyberattack that most small and mid-sized businesses go out of business within six months of falling prey to cybercrime.

The bottom line? Not securing your network is much more expensive than purchasing the right security software.

Other things to keep in mind when considering network security costs

Different businesses have different security needs, so most software companies don’t provide pricing information. Instead, they ask you to call in for a personalized quote based on their assessment of your needs. During the call, you’ll often be asked to schedule a demo so you can see the system in action.

While this process isn’t as straightforward as finding a pricing guide and calculating your cost, it can be a great way to ensure all your security gaps will be covered by a new system.

Even if a system’s cost is spelled out in black and white, you should still request a demo or free trial to make sure it meets your needs. You should also check on whether a company offers discounts for first-time buyers to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal.

If you’re looking for more information on cybersecurity in general, check out the resources below, and good luck in your network security software search!

  • 4 Experts’ Tips for Improving Your Small Business Cybersecurity
  • 5 Lessons From Small Businesses That Were Cyberattack Targets
  • 5 IT Management Trends to Watch For in 2018 (includes a section on increased cybercrime)
  • IBM’s Data Breach Cost Calculator

Looking for IT Management software? Check out Capterra’s list of the best IT Management software solutions.

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