Recession should not breed insecurity

As companies rein in IT spending, analysts are predicting less spendingon PCs and mobile handsets, but the recession will not hurt cloudcomputing and security products.

These are predictions made by two market research firms this week.

IDCof Framingham, Mass. Thursday published a report, dubbed IDCPredictions 2009: An Economic Pressure Cooker Will Accelerate the ITIndustry Transformation. In it, the company predicts “it willbe a grim year for mobile gadgets” but spending on cloud computing“will accelerate” because companies will be under pressure to cut ITcosts.

Meanwhile, Infonetics of Campbell, Calif. announcedTuesday its statistics show a four per cent increase in spending onsecurity products between the second and third quarters of this year.In its paper, titled Network Security Appliances and Software,Infonetics said companies are buying security products because ofcompliance requirements, to save costs, and because of “explosivegrowth” in the number, variety and volume of threats.

Infonetics’report tracks spending on secure routers, Secure Sockets Layer virtualprivate networking (SSL VPN) gateways, firewalls, intrusion preventionand intrusion detection products.

But some areas are seeingnoticeable declines. For example, revenues for servers sold in volumedropped seven per cent year over year from the third quarter of 2007 tothe same period in 2008, according to a separate IDC report, alsoreleased this week.

This could be due to more efficient use ofservers through virtualization, but it stands to reason many companieswill have less money to spend during the recession. Though much of thefocus is on hardware, the costs that really add up are for licensingand administration of software, operating systems and services. If yourcompany is one of the few that’s expanding, you will probably need tospend on network equipment and services. The same goes if you’rerelying more in cloud computing.

Budgeting for security can betricky. You need to separate what’s actually required from productsthat the lawyers say you need to exercise “due diligence.” For example,anti-spam and “compliance” software tends to fall under the realm ofsecurity, but this raises a few questions. Will your company fail tooperate if the CEO gets five e-mails from entrepreneurs trying to sellhim Viagra? Does your company need to save every single file ande-mail, even those that send 5 MB PowerPoint presentations that wouldnot be as critical as financial transactions in the event of aninvestigation?

There’s also the question of what you reallyneed. If customers have less money to spend, will this change if everysales person has the latest and greatest smart phone on the fastestnetwork? Probably not. But if you’re company is suffering a loss ofbusiness, cutting back on security in the wrong areas could make a badsituation worse.

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