IT managers eye security and new operating systems among top spending priorities

A global survey by IDC says IT managers at big companies expect to invest in security, new operating systems and Windows products in the next 12 months.

Security will continue to lead IT spending, according to an IDC study released last week on technology budget priorities from around the world. Other priorities include investments in new operating systems and Windows products, the study said.

Titled Global Market Watch Survey 2006: IT Budget Trends and Priorities, the study analyzed IT spending in 300 large firms in the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, China, and India. As part of its survey, Framingham, Mass.-based IDC asked business leaders in the first quarter of 2006 what new technologies they plan to acquire in the upcoming year.

"Larger firms have begun to carry out a lot of studies about risk," said Stephen Minton, vice president of Worldwide IT Markets at IDC. "They want to know how much is it going to cost me if there is a denial of service due to a security problem and other concerns along this line. As this conversation has been elevated to the boardroom level, it has become easier for security vendors to sell their products."

However, Minton said enterprises were beginning to look at security as needing a whole solution, rather than just individual products to address specific threats.

More than a quarter of the companies surveyed are also looking toward buying a new operating system in the coming year. The study found 35% of businesses in India and China expect to invest in a new OS. The number of businesses in the United States eyeing purchases were slightly lower, with 30% indicating an OS was something they were planning to buy in the next 12 months.

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"The difference in Asia is that they are in an earlier stage of adoption," Minton said. "Many businesses there are planning to upgrade to a newer system."

Although the study did not ask which specific system firms plan to purchase, Windows would likely continue to be the market leader among operating systems, Minton said. U.S. companies tend to have more current versions of Windows, he added, and those who plan to purchase a new OS may very well purchase Vista, Microsoft's next generation desktop OS. Vista is expected to ship in early 2007.

Microsoft executives have touted the enhanced level of security in Vista for several months as the company gets ready for it first major OS release in three years, Minton said. But despite the hard sell by the software maker, there is still a low level of perception about security in Microsoft products among IT users, he said.

"It could be end users possibly still don't know enough about the security features Microsoft offers, but if they do, then perhaps they don't see them as strongly as Microsoft has promoted them to be."

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