Only 6% of IT directors in government departments would invest in security if their budget was increased, according to a Citrix Government Forum survey released at Infosecurity Europe 2009 in London.
This is in sharp contrast to a similar study in 2008, in which 59% of government organisations rated security as a top priority.
"The focus has shifted to achieving cost-effective IT through shared services and technologies such as virtualisation," Chris Mayers, security architect at Citrix Systems, told Computer Weekly.
The survey found that almost half the respondents would use any extra budget on shared services, while one in four said they would invest in virtualisation and mobile working.
According to Mayers, most government departments have already made the necessary investmentin security technology.
He said the spate of high-profile data breaches pushed security to the top of the public sector IT agenda last year, but now that technology is being put to work.
"With the country in recession, organisations have had to re-assess spending priorities. This year, government organisations are focusing on making IT more efficient," he said.
However, Mayers warned that organisations cannot afford to forget about security because threats are evolving all the time.
"Right now, no one can afford to put their business at risk and the public have the right to feel that personal information held by government departments is properly protected," he said.