The share of the enterprise budget devoted to security spending can and will be safely reduced by as much as 6% through 2011, according to new figures from sector analysts at Gartner.
Security spending will account for 5% of the total spend in 2010, down from 6% last year, said Gartner research director Vic Wheatman.
"In the face of a significant IT spending downturn, security spending grew slightly as a percentage of the IT budget, while many other IT spending areas were gutted," Wheatman explained.
"With the economic situation projected to improve in 2010, enterprises are ramping up investments in other spending areas faster than they are for IT security," he continued.
However, Wheatman pointed out that this did not mean the importance of security solutions were diminishing.
Businesses looking for platforms such as endpoint security, next-generation firewalls and web and email security gateways would continue to do so, and clients would still seek out best-of-breed solutions in areas such as vulnerability assessment, where platforms don't make sense.
But customers would look for lower-cost contracts and delivery models, and Wheatman stressed that the use of open source tools and security-as-a-service provisioning was also likely to grow.
Meanwhile, security spending tied to keeping cyber-crooks out of the corporate network was largely unaffected by the recession, and spending on identity and access management and data loss prevention was reappearing, Gartner said.
The tight regulatory situation in the US meant that North American firms spent on average 5.5% of their IT budgets on security, a figure that dropped to 4.3% in EMEA.