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Survey: Security budgets on the rise

Spurred by the World Trade Center attacks and a plethora of their own security incidents, many firms are increasing their spending on security, according to a new study.

A report released Tuesday found that more than half the companies surveyed had increased their information-security budget in the past year, in many cases at the expense of other parts of their overall technology budget.

The report, conducted by market researcher Vista Research in partnership with survey firm Harris Interactive, also found that 12 percent of respondents had a significant security breach or major fraud in the past year.

"Currently, two events spur proactive spending: experience with breaches and regulatory requirements," Monique Elwell, senior financial analyst, said in the report. Elwell stressed that long-term increases in security spending will be driven by regulations, not security incidents.

"Serious security breaches...tend to produce dramatic, but short-lived spikes of activity, not prolonged spending," Elwell said.

The report summarized the results of a survey of nearly 300 high-level information technology managers. A majority said they had increased their budget this past year, and nearly half said they planned to bump up their expenditures in the coming year. Of those companies intending to spend significantly more this year, 40 percent will cannibalize other information technology budgets to do so.

The windfall from the spending isn't going to well-known security companies. The report found that security decision makers are currently using mainstream companies such as Symantec, Microsoft and Cisco to meet their needs, rather than security-market stalwarts such as Check Point Software and Internet Security Systems.

Half of the participants cited Symantec as one of the companies they relied on to provide security to their business. 47 percent said Cisco was part of their mix, and 42 percent said Microsoft was among their choices. Security-only companies ranked much lower: Check Point Software at 12 percent, Watchguard at 7 percent and ISS at 4 percent.