Federal IT Security Spending Grows, With CIA in Lead: IDC

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

Currently, about 40 percent of IT staffing for security management goes to contractors. That percentage is expected to hit about 60 percent by 2017.

Overall federal IT security spending will rise from $5.9 billion in 2012 to more than $7.3 billion in 2017, and overall security spending has been trickling upward at an average rate of about 4 percent per year, according to two concurrent reports released by IT research firm IDC.

The firm expects to see steady long-term growth for security spending between now and 2017, with staffing growing to $6.2 billion by 2017, firewall spending growing to $249.6 million, unified threat management growing to $541.4 million, intrusion detection and prevention growing to $226.3 million, and virtual private network spending growing to $80.9 million.

Currently, about 40 percent of IT staffing for security management goes to contractors—that percentage is expected to grow to about 60 percent by 2017, as more government IT services move into the cloud.

The report also noted most IT security spending goes toward staff salaries, because security scanning and proactive mitigation efforts still have a heavy manual component, with people needed to set configuration and to make decisions when threats are detected.

A second report, which looked at U.S. intelligence budget landscape, found many government agencies spend an average of 4.5 percent to 6.7 percent of their total annual budget on IT solutions.

On average, IDC Government Insights calculates that about 22.5 percent of the black intelligence budget is targeted at various types of IT solutions, and overall intelligence spending is expected to rise about $9.5 billion (18.8 percent) between 2013 and 2017.

"U.S. intelligence agencies face the same pressures as other federal agencies—to consolidate systems, to take advantage of cloud-based solutions or shared services when possible, and to use new technologies to improve and accelerate data processing," Shawn McCarthy an analyst at IDC, said in a statement. "And while many intelligence agencies have long been chief consumers of supercomputing power, the newer styles of flexible multiprocessing are driving new rapidly scaling IT operating at a variety of facilities."

Spending by the CIA is the largest of any spy agency, with $14.8 billion requested for 2013--nearly 70 percent higher than the next largest intelligence agency, the National Security Agency.

Meanwhile, counterterrorism programs account for about one-quarter of the members of the intelligence workforce. These programs also represent about one-third of all intelligence spending.

"With their evolving focus on global data collection for international operations, intelligence agencies will be dealing with more data than ever before while integrating new solutions capable of handling that data," McCarthy continued. "For this reason, we expect IT spending to continue at these agencies."

Originally published on www.eweek.com.