Businesses are set to spend big on cloud this year, but not security

Businesses are prepared to lay out major investment in cloud technology and systems this year, new research has claimed.

Cloud spending has soared in 2020 so far due to the increased need for remote working capabilities brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, but this trend is set to continue even as workers begin to return to the office, according to a survey by Snow Software.

However this demand is not being matched by security spending, as new figures from Gartner suggest this area is only set to grow at a greatly reduced rate in 2020.

Cloud growth

Snow Software found 82 percent of IT leaders it surveyed had increased their cloud usage over the past several weeks in response to the pandemic. 

Cloud infrastructure was found to be the biggest driver of this rise, with over three-quarters (76 percent) increasing their use of platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and even private cloud. 

More than half of respondents (55 percent) noted an increase in collaboration tools like Slack, Teams or Google Chat, while 52 percent of those surveyed indicated an increase in cloud-based video conferencing software like Zoom, Cisco WebEx or GoToMeeting. 

Going forward, 60 percent said they would be continuing to increase their overall cloud usage and 91 percent are changing their cloud strategy as a result of the current economic climate. Nearly half (45 percent) of businesses would now be accelerating their cloud migration, with 41 percent moving ahead with digital transformation plans versus putting those initiatives on hold (22 percent and 21 percent respectively).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has turned cloud into an essential service for many organisations, as well as highlighting the complexities of managing cloud cost and usage,” said Jay Litkey, EVP of Cloud Management at Snow. 

“This survey confirms what we are hearing from our customers – that while many CIOs are being asked to trim costs, there will be continued investment in technology that presents the opportunity for long-term growth and stability. To weather the storm, IT leaders must take a comprehensive approach to managing cloud, uncovering opportunities to streamline costs while continuing to provide the infrastructure needed to support their workforce and drive innovation.”

Security slump

Gartner’s figures showed that spending on security and risk management technology and services will continue to grow globally this year, albeit at a lower rate than previously expected.

The analyst firm expects security spending to grow 2.4 percent to reach $123.8 billion in 2020, down from the 8.7 percent it projected last December. This fall is largely down to a drop in short-term demand  in areas such as cloud adoption, remote worker technologies and cost saving measures.

Adopting cloud-based delivery models is helping protect much of the security industry, Gartner says, with such methods now reaching far more than half of deployments in most markets.

“Like other segments of IT, we expect security will be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Lawrence Pingree, managing research vice president at Gartner. “Overall we expect a pause and a reduction of growth in both security software and services during 2020.”

“However, there are a few factors in favour of some security market segments, such as cloud-based offerings and subscriptions, being propped up by demand or delivery model. Some security spending will not be discretionary and the positive trends cannot be ignored,” he said.

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