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November 5, 2010 • Vol.32 Issue 23
Page(s) 30 in print issue

Gartner Research Details IT Security Spending

 Recent research from Gartner aims to offer guidance to organizations that are unsure what percentage of their IT budgets to spend on security. According to Gartner’s “IT Key Metrics Data” for 2010, companies around the world spend an average of 5% of their total IT budget on security. Organizations spent 37% of their IT security budgets on personnel, 25% on software, 20% on hardware, 10% on outsourcing, and 9% on consulting.

“In normal times, Gartner suggests that enterprises spend 3 to 6% of their IT budgets on security,” says another recent Gartner report. “In 2010, spending will generally be within this range, as discretionary general IT spending ramps up at a faster rate than security spending. Spending outside these ranges may be perfectly reasonable but should be evaluated to understand the variances.” s

Gartner notes that security spending varies significantly by industry and geography and that “differences in corporate culture and security maturity levels can significantly affect

security spending.” The percentage of the overall IT budget spent on security will be higher for companies that are in highly regulated environments or ones that protect financial assets, intellectual property, or personally identifia-ble information. For example, professional services, government, and banking sectors all spend more than the average company on IT security, according to the Gartner report.

The Future Of IT Security Spending

IT security spending did not decrease even during the worst parts of the recession, Gartner reports, but many organizations put off expensive projects. Those projects are now coming back to the forefront, according to Victor Wheatman, a managing vice president at Gartner.

“The data does show that nice-to-have/want-to-have projects like identity and access management were put on the back burner, as were other ‘let the good guys in’ security technologies,” Wheatman says. “DLP . . . does seem to be a higher priority now than it was before for compliance, protection of intellectual property, privacy considerations, and other reasons.”

In the future, Wheatman says cloud computing and SaaS models will help companies reduce their overall IT security costs. “Not only that, but companies can get better security at a lower cost by out-sourcing,” he says.

No matter how much an organization spends on IT security, Wheatman says there are several areas every company should invest in. “The primary thing companies need to do is keep the bad guys out, which means anti-malware of various types, intrusion prevention and some common sense, [and] repeti-tive awareness training against social engineering,” he says. “They need to monitor new threats as they emerge and anticipate what they need to do in order to protect themselves, if necessary.

by Kyle Harpster

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