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Worldwide IT Security Spend will Reach $174.7 Billion

A distributed workforce, and ongoing work-from-home mandates, have evolved the charter of corporate information technology (IT) organizations. CIOs are now tasked to support flexible working arrangements that require them to reconsider prior assumptions about securing the combined infrastructure that enables an employee to perform work remotely.

Enterprise spending on IT security products and services has experienced new growth in 2020, as many organizations invest in solutions to meet the needs of a much larger remote workforce, and a wide range of online security threats that create additional requirements.

According to the latest global market study by International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide spending on security-related hardware, software, and services will be $125.2 billion in 2020 -- that's an increase of 6 percent over 2019.

IT Security Market Development

As the global economy recovers from the impact of COVID-19, IDC expects worldwide security spending to reach $174.7 billion in 2024 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.1 percent over the 2020-2024 forecast period.

While IT spending is contracting somewhat across most industries in the wake of the global pandemic, IT security demand remains robust, particularly in sectors including State or Local Governments, Telecommunications, and Federal or Central Governments that have become essential service providers.

Indeed, these three industries will exhibit double-digit growth in IT security spending through 2024. Meanwhile, Banking, Manufacturing, and Professional Services continue to have the largest share of IT security spending. There's even some growth still in IT security for industries that are currently struggling, such as Retail and Transportation.

The three industries with the largest IT security investments (Banking, Discrete Manufacturing, and Federal or Central Governments) will account for roughly 30 percent of overall spending in 2020 and throughout the forecast period.

The industries that are seeing the greatest increase in IT security spending in 2020 are Federal or Central Government (10 percent), State or Local Government (8.9 percent), and Telecommunications (8.5 percent). These three industries will also deliver the only double-digit CAGRs over the five-year forecast period, led by State or Local Government with an 11.1 percent CAGR.


IT security services will be the largest and fastest growing segment of the global IT security market accounting for roughly half of all spending throughout the forecast and a 10.5 percent five-year CAGR.

Managed security services – single-tenant solutions operated by third-party providers and residing on customers' premises (customer premises equipment) – is the largest category of IT security services spending, followed by integration services and consulting services. Managed security services will also be the fastest growing segment with a five-year CAGR of 13.6 percent.

"Complexity abounds with security technology deployment and sprawl requiring assessment and design services," said Christina Richmond, vice president at IDC. "While COVID-19 has had a negative impact on many ICT technologies, security services have witnessed increased engagements, especially in outsourcing services such as managed security services (MSS) and managed detection and response (MDR)."

According to the IDC assessment, software will be the second largest segment of the IT security market, led by endpoint security and security analytics, intelligence, response, and orchestration software.

Hardware spending will be dominated by network security needs -- including firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, unified threat management, and virtual private networks. Both product segments are expected to recover in 2021 with year-over-year growth rates of 9.6 percent for hardware and 4.4 percent for software.

Large and very large enterprises will be responsible for two-thirds of all IT security-related spending in 2020 and throughout the forecast period. These two segments will also see the strongest spending growth with five-year CAGRs of 9.3 percent for large businesses and 8.6 percent for very large businesses. Medium and small businesses will spend more than $30 billion combined on IT security solutions this year.

Outlook for Global IT Security Investment Growth

From a geographic perspective, IDC analysts forecast that the United States will be the single largest market for IT security solutions with spending forecast to reach $56.4 billion in 2020. Four industries -- discrete manufacturing, the federal government, banking, and professional services -- will account for more than $20 billion of the U.S. market total.

China and the United Kingdom are the next largest country markets with IT security spending expected to reach $7.9 billion and $7.6 billion this year. Telecommunications and state or local government will be the industries with the largest IT security spending in China while banking and discrete manufacturing will be the leading industries in the UK market.

Due partly to global economic uncertainty, I anticipate that corporate IT budgets will be realigned to accommodate shifting priorities in the coming months. That said, IT technology investments that facilitate strategic digital transformation projects will remain a high priority for many organizations. IT security will be a key component of these ongoing projects.

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