Spending on IT security will continue to grow next year, according to new data unveiled by Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) on the first day of its Security Forum. The Forrester Business Data Services survey, which polled more than 1,200 North American enterprise and SMB security decision-makers, found that 21 percent of respondents expect to increase their IT security budgets in 2009, while nearly three-quarters of those surveyed expect no cutbacks in their security spending. Only 6 percent of respondents anticipate having to cut their security budget next year despite the current economic uncertainty.

In his keynote address at the Security Forum, Forrester Research Principal Analyst Khalid Kark noted that Security & Risk professionals are now in a renaissance period, and security’s influence is growing within organizations. He also revealed the following data from the study:

  • Security makes up 10 percent of overall IT operating budgets in 2008, up from 8 percent last year.
  • Nearly 50 percent of respondents report to a board/CEO or an executive committee. Security is no longer embedded within IT.
  • Data protection is critical. More than half of respondents said that protecting corporate IP and customer data was their top priority for the next 12 months.
  • Companies are realizing the significance of having business continuity and disaster recovery plans in place. Forty-two percent of respondents said it was very important, up from 33 percent from last year.

“This is an exciting time to be in security,” said Kark. “We are in a period of immense change in which we have the opportunity to define the future of our profession. Security & Risk professionals are faced with a rapidly changing technology landscape and business environment. To achieve success in the role today, they need to be open to new ideas and embrace change.”

More than 250 Security & Risk professionals are attending Forrester’s Security Forum to learn how they can stimulate and promote business change — and protect the business amid them — by introducing a mix of governance practices, structured processes, and new technologies. Speakers include industry leaders from AT&T, Cigital, Eastman Kodak, Harland Clarke, People Security, Texas Instruments, Verdasys, VeriSign, and Verizon Business.

Additionally, participants are benefiting from three track sessions designed specifically for Security & Risk professionals, one-on-one sessions with Forrester analysts, peer networking, and a technology showcase where 20 sponsors — including platinum sponsor VeriSign and gold sponsors Blue Coat, HP ProCurve, and Lumeta — are sharing their solutions.

Forrester’s Leadership Boards’ Security & Risk Management Council also met prior to the Forum. The one-day program provided Board members a valuable opportunity to understand how they and their peers are effectively managing security and risk amid a rapidly changing business environment. Many of the Boards’ members also participated in panels at the Forum.