Short-term federal IT security spending to flatten, Input says

Federal government spending on information technology security products and services will increase in fiscal 2005 just 2 percent over fiscal 2004 spending, according to a report published today by Input Inc., a Reston, Va., government IT research firm.

In contrast, federal spending on IT security rose 10 percent in 2004, 50 percent in 2003 and 100 percent in 2002, compared to each prior year, according to Input's Federal IT Security MarketView report.

Overall budget pressures, including the war in Iraq, have taken money away from IT security, but in time those pressures should ease, boosting IT security spending, said Chris Campbell, senior analyst for federal market analysis.

Input forecasted that over the next five years, federal government IT security spending will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 5 percent from $5.6 billion in fiscal year 2004 to just over $7 billion in fiscal year 2009.

The Office of Management and Budget is requiring agencies to fix IT security weaknesses in legacy systems before receiving additional IT development and modernization funds. Because of the focus on legacy systems, the agencies don't have enough money to ensure that systems being modernized are fully secure, Campbell said.

"It's a Catch-22," he said. "They didn't bring these systems up to specification to begin with, so now they are being required use existing funds to do that."

In order to use existing budget monies to fix security problems, the agencies have to get approval to re-appropriate funds from other projects, which in turn delays the process of getting the fixes made, Campbell said.

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