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IT Budgets Contracting at Slower Rate

IT Budgets Contracting at Slower Rate

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Published by: api-25916350 on Sep 23, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Employment of workers in IT Occupations
  Q  1  :   0  4  Q   2  :   0  4  Q   3  :   0  4  Q  4  :   0  4  Q  1  :   0   5  Q   2  :   0   5  Q   3  :   0   5  Q  4  :   0   5  Q  1  :   0   6  Q   2  :   0   6  Q   3  :   0   6  Q  4  :   0   6  Q  1  :   0   7  Q   2  :   0   7  Q   3  :   0   7  Q  4  :   0   7  Q  1  :   0   8  Q   2  :   0   8  Q   3  :   0   8  Q  4  :   0   8  Q  1  :   0   9  Q   2  :   0   9
Source: TechServe Alliance (formerly NACCB) | www.techservealliance.org
Fall 2009
IT Budgets Contracting at Slower Rate
'Contracting at a slower rate' seems to be theubiquitous catch phrase as the recession begins tolose steam. As these carefully chosen wordsdemonstrate, economic indicators don't just reversedirection on a dime. They first slow, come to a stopand then reverse direction. For example, overall jobslosses are in the slowdown phase: monthly jobdeclines are now hitting about a third of what theywere at the beginning of the year.Recent surveys, such as CIO.com's survey of ITleaders this spring, suggest stabilization regardingcorporate IT spending. Although only 14% of ITleaders say that their IT budgets will increasecompared to 63% more than a year earlier, goodnews can be found in their budget planning. In January, 53% of IT leaders said their IT budgetswould decrease. A few months later that figuredropped to 50%. While 3% is not a great change, it ismovement in the right direction. The mostencouraging change, however, is that 36% of respondents expect their IT budgets to remainsteady, which is up from only 28% earlier in the year.So where do IT leaders plan to spend budgetdollars? Applications lead the list with 28% of surveyrespondents reporting a budget increase in thisarea. Hardware, on the other hand, was at the top of the list for decreases with 47% anticipatingdecreased hardware spending. Not surprisingly, 63%of respondents agree with the statement that"current economic conditions [are] causing ITpurchases to undergo closer scrutiny by otherbusiness executives within your company." So whatwill be the ultimate business goal behind ITspending over the next 12 months? CIOs will beconcentrating on enabling business processinnovation (31%), lowering IT operating costs (27%)and generating top line revenue growth (22%).Although about half of the CIOs reported that theyhad instituted IT staff reductions in the past sixmonths, very few plan to implement either a hiringfreeze (3%) or an IT headcount reduction (4%) in thenext six months. And whereas 62% reported thatthey had reduced spending on IT contractors andconsultants in the past six months, only 11% plan todo so in the next six months.And though these new insights provide positivesigns and reminders that growth will return, no onecan know the day this hard recession will end. For ITprofessionals it’s reassuring to note that companiesremain reluctant at this stage of the economic cycleto enact widespread layoffs. With a recovery comesrecruiting needs, which means that at this juncturecompanies are more likely to cut salaries and perksthan lay off workers.
Not the Time to Curtail Data Protection
With IT spending (all spending for that matter)under increased scrutiny, every new and existing ITexpense requires justification. It may be hard todefend spending more money on upgrading dataprotection for existing services and programs thatappear to be doing their job, especially if there havebeen no breaches.A new report by Ponemon Institute and sponsoredby Ounce Labs (a recent IBM acquisition), found thatCEOs have a generally positive view about dataprotection efforts. According to the report, CEOsbelieve "the most important activities to achievinggood data protection are: developing a dataprotection strategy for the organization; trainingemployees, temporary employees and contractors;and reducing potential security flaws withinbusiness critical applications." CEOs felt stolen(31%) or lost (24%) computers or USB devices alongwith the incorrect disposal of storage media (22%)were the most common reasons for sensitivecompany data to be put at risk.But good data protection services do more than justsafeguard company data; they are a means of ensuring a company's reputation and brandintegrity. Solid data protection practices alsoadvance key organizational goals, such ascompliance and ensuring customer trust.Experts warn that seemingly innocuous practicescan put a company and individuals at risk. Manysuggest that businesses never allow an e-mailapplication to fully render html or xhtml e-mails. Doso and the recipient runs the risk of being identifiedas a valid recipient of spam or being successfullyphished by malicious security code crackers. And itshouldn't need to be said, but using Web-based e-mail services such as G-mail and Yahoo! Mail shouldbe avoided if you wish e-mails be kept private forany reason. Instead, use a local POP3 or IMAP e-mailapplication.

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