2003 IT Security Budgets Increased Despite Flat Overall Spending

Companies target employee education, business continuity and disaster recovery, META Group survey shows

Companies target employee education, business continuity and disaster recovery, META Group survey shows

Stamford, CT  November 24, 2003  Despite tight spending, a complacent economy and the perceived commoditization of information technology (IT), 66 percent of companies in a recent survey made room in their 2003 IT budgets to dedicate more financial resources to security programs and little else, according to a study from technology consultancy META Group.

This year, companies spent an average of 8.2 percent of their total IT budgets on security, up from 7.6 percent in 2002 and only 3.2 percent in 2001, according to new findings from META Group's "2004 Worldwide IT Benchmark Report."

These security programs primarily emphasized employee education, business continuity and disaster recovery. Security professionals agree that current employees still pose the biggest threat to companies' technology infrastructures, and their biggest concern is malicious attacks from viruses and unauthorized access to systems.

"Aside from security spending, we also saw an increase in development activity," said Dr. Howard Rubin, META Group executive vice president and author of the report. "Because of tightened budgets, more emphasis was placed on integrating and extending existing applications rather than implementing new packaged applications."

Surveyed executives attributed tight spending in 2003 to weak profits and current financial conditions. A substantial number say that IT infrastructure and capacity are currently sufficient, so only limited spending is required. In general, however, there is optimism that investment will increase in 2004, especially in the insurance and manufacturing sectors.

"We expect insurance and manufacturing companies to see significant gains in IT spending," said Rubin. "These are the sectors where we have seen the most efficient and effective cost-cutting measures in the last three years. These companies are positioned to take advantage of new opportunities because they have become more agile during the lean years."

The annual Worldwide IT Benchmark Report examines IT performance and productivity data for Global 2000 organizations. Data for the survey were collected from 35 countries and were combined with META's Worldwide Benchmark database, which contains quantitative survey data collected on an ongoing basis from a panel of more than 1,600 IT professionals.