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IDC: Security spending passes overall IT spending

What are IT managers spending their precious budget dollars on? IDC says it's security and business continuity.

Many IT managers say security is their top spending priority, according to a recent survey by the Framingham, Mass.-based research group International Data Corp. Business continuity is another major concern for managers.

IDC predicts worldwide spending on security and business continuity will grow twice as fast as overall IT spending. The market segment grew 11% last year to reach $64 billion. By the end of this year, spending on both types of technology will likely top $70 billion, Ludovica Bruno, a senior analyst with IDC, said in an e-mail statement.

IDC said that 40% of about 1,000 IT managers surveyed saw security as their top IT budget priority. The respondents seem to be putting their money where their mouths are -- more said their spending on security increased during the last six months.

By 2005, the market for security and business continuity products should hit a 15% growth rate, which should translate into more than $118 billion being spent on the technologies by 2007. The growth should come equally from hardware, software and services. IDC sees content filtering as a potential growth area, because companies face legal risks posed by their employees' downloads.

Spending will be driven both by immediate security needs and by the need to comply with recent measures that regulate information security such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA) and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

IDC said its survey was completed in July but points to a few recent events -- the Blaster and Sobig worm outbreaks and the blackout that kept millions in the Midwest and Northeast in the dark -- as reminders that security and business continuity need to be a priority.

"Corporate spending on security and business continuity has been held back by two factors -- uncertainty about the severity of risk posed by security threats and ongoing budget austerity," John F. Gantz, chief research officer and senior vice president at IDC, said in a statement. "However, any skepticism about the potential consequences of a security breach is fading fast as enterprises seek to improve their ability to manage organizational risk."

FOR MORE INFORMATION: news exclusive: "Analyst talks about state of enterprise security" news exclusive: "Post-September 11 spending windfall never happened"

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