What lies ahead for 2016? Security fears, but little change

finding right path

Spiceworks has surveyed IT pros on where they see themselves a year from now. Three big trends: stagnant budgets, slow hiring and a host of security worries ranging from natural disasters to clueless execs. 

The comprehensive study covers a lot of ground. But the biggest areas, budgets, staffing and security deserve special attention.

Here’s what your colleagues had to say about each:

1. Security

Only half (52%) of IT pros thought their organizations were doing enough to protect crucial data. The rest may have been optimists.

According to Spiceworks’ 2016 State of IT Report:

  • 74% indicated that recent data breaches hadn’t led to security changes at their organizations
  • 62% said their organizations don’t conduct regular security audits or assessments
  • 59% said their employers don’t adequately invest in IT security, and
  • 51% said security isn’t going to be a top priority in 2016.

Those aren’t very encouraging statistics. It’s especially bad that given a plethora of evidence that data breaches can bring companies down, many are still not heeding the warning by investing in or supporting security efforts in the coming years.

Some of the specific concerns IT pros had were:

Worrying about funding is reflective of an overall trend for IT in the coming year.

2. Budgets

The bad news: Overall, it looks like budgets for the next year will be remaining mostly stagnant or growing.

But a few unlucky souls are about to see their budgets shrink even further, which could make security an even more difficult proposition. According to the survey:

  • 42% (the largest group of those surveyed) expected budgets for 2016 to remain about the same
  • 38% expected to see growth, and
  • 10% said their budgets would decline.

The remaining 11% are in the dark as to their future budgets.

While it might seem like almost 40% of departments seeing a rise in funding is good news, even this reveals a worrisome trend. Fifty-six percent of respondents said their companies’ overall revenue is expected to rise in the coming year, and 22% expected no change.

So wherever that extra money is going, it’s not into the hands of people who are working to keep data safe.

Now might be a good time to make a push for increased budgets – provided, of course, that the extra funds could be put to good use on valuable projects for your department.

For instance, 47% of respondents said their OS budget could be going to a Windows 10 migration.

The biggest single share of the budget will come from hardware expenditures, however. That’s expected to cover about 37% of the budget, but is down from last year’s 41%, perhaps due to increased cloud spending.

3. Staffing

One area most IT pros would want a little help could be staffing. For most organizations, that’s not about to change.

According to the survey, nearly six in 10 organizations (59%) are expected to see no change in staffing levels for the coming year. But a third (34%) expect to see growth.

That’s not outstanding, but it will provide much-needed help for some organizations.

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