Report: Security Tops IT Budget Priorities

New research from Robert Half International finds companies are still putting money into IT security projects, even when budgets are tight

Security is on the minds of companies and many are still making room in their budgets to invest in IT security initiatives, according to a survey released Monday by Robert Half Technology.

The research found that, despite a challenging economy, seven out of 10 chief information officers interviewed recently said their companies will invest in information technology initiatives in the next 12 months. Information security topped the list of projects executives expect their firms to invest in, with 43 percent of the response. Technology executives in the financial services and transportation sectors cited security most often, with 59 percent and 58 percent of the responses, respectively. The results are based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees.

"Although times are lean, many companies are finding that they can't afford to postpone IT investments that lead to increased security, efficiencies or revenues," said Dave Willmer, executive director or Robert Half Technology, in a statement. "Organizations also are trying to make sure they are prepared for growth when conditions improve, and enhancing their IT infrastructure is part of that process."

The other top IT investment areas were:

2. Virtualization (28 percent)

3. Data center efficiency (27 percent)

4. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) (26 percent)

5. Software as a Service (SaaS) (26 percent)

6. Green IT (20 percent)

7. Business intelligence (19 percent)

8. Social networking (18 percent)

9. Web 2.0 (17 percent)

10. Outsourcing (16 percent)

The RHI survey falls in line with research released earlier this year by Forrester Research|Forrester Research Inc. - CSO Online - Security and Risk]] (See: IT Security Spending Up For Some). The Cambridge, Mass.-based firm interviewed nearly 1,000 firms for its State Of Enterprise IT Security: 2008-2009 report and found, among other things, that the security portion of IT budgets is expected to rise 12.6 percent in 2009, up from 7.2 percent in 2007 and 11.7 percent in 2008.

However, a poll conducted by CSO earlier this year found that the economy was having a negative impact on security spending. CSO polled security-decision makers in over 100 companies about their spending plans for 2009. Of the 159 respondents, 64 percent indicted that the economy was having a negative impact on security spending and 35 percent said security budgets would decrease this year.

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