According to a new report by research company IDC, “Business Strategy: U.S. Federal Government IT Security Spending Forecast and Market Outlook”,  overall IT security...
securitateAccording to a new report by research company IDC, “Business Strategy: U.S. Federal Government IT Security Spending Forecast and Market Outlook”,  overall IT security spending will rise from $5.9 billion in 2012 to over $7.3 billion in 2017.  Overall security spending has been trickling upward at an average rate of about 4% per year.

While federal IT security spending continues to climb, the expansion is not universal. Different agencies are investing in IT security at different rates, and most have distinct focuses.  According to Shawn P. McCarthy, research director, IDC Government Insights, “At this time, many agencies are reviewing how their move to cloud-based solutions might affect their overall IT security posture and many are finding that unified threat management solutions are becoming increasingly popular.   In fact, we anticipate that federal UTM spending will rise from $213.8 million in 2012 to over $541.4 million in 2017.”

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The report shows the fact that most IT security spending goes toward staff salaries. This is because security scanning and proactive mitigation efforts still have a heavy manual component, with people needed to set configuration and to make decisions when threats are detected. Most years staff salaries account for between 85% and 91% of total spending.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) tracks two broad categories of IT security spending — money spent strictly on IT security versus money spent on the IT elements of larger physical and nation security efforts. The government needs both types of IT spending to maintain an effective security posture.

IDC Government Insights expects to see steady long-term growth for security spending between now and 2017, with staffing growing to $6.2 billion by 2017, firewall spending growing to $249.6 million, unified threat management growing to $541.4 million, intrusion detection and prevention growing to $226.3 million, and virtual private network spending growing to $80.9 million.  Right now, about 40% of IT staffing for security management goes to contractors. IDC Government Insights expects to see that grow to about 60% by 2017, as more government IT services move into the cloud.

In addition, IDC Government Insights has announced a second new report, “Perspective: The U.S. Intelligence Budget Landscape – With IT Segmentation and Budget Forecast”. According to published sources, the U.S. intelligence budget for FY13 was set at $52.3 billion, with an additional $400 million in spending across other government agencies, which require some level of interaction of data sharing with the intelligence community. While a total of $52.6 billion often is quoted as the total black intelligence budget, this new report mainly addresses the $52.3 billion that was outlined in available documents.

According to the report, many government agencies spend an average of 4.5% to 6.7% of their total annual budget on IT solutions. Intelligence agencies tend to have a higher need for computing solutions, which prompts many of them to spend over 15% of their annual budgets on different types of information technology or data gathering technologies. For an organization such as the National Security Agency, which is focused heavily on signal intelligence, communications, and data analysis that percentage can climb to over 30%.

On average, IDC Government Insights calculates that about 22.5% of the black intelligence budget is targeted at various types of IT solutions.

Overall intelligence spending is expected to rise about $9.5 billion (18.8%) between 2013 and 2017. The IT portion of the overall intelligence spending is expected to grow by up to 33.6%. Much of this will go toward additional data collection technologies and flexible large-scale computing platforms.

Counterterrorism programs account for about 25% of the members of the intelligence workforce. These programs also represent about 33% of all intelligence spending.

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