Survey: IT investments up in 2009

AT&T asked 502 IT executives about business continuity

Despite the rocky economic environment, nearly two-thirds of large companies are investing in new technologies or upgrades this year, according to a study by Networx vendor AT&T Inc.

This is the eighth year the company has surveyed information technology executives at U.S. companies that have at least $25 million in annual revenue about their investments in network security, business continuity and disaster planning.

AT&T surveyed 502 IT executives in Detroit, Houston, Southern California, three major Florida cities and the Washington/Baltimore area.

The rise in social networking and the trend toward mobility both cause and solve problems: Web 2.0 technologies and mobile devices present challenges to network security, but they support continuity of operations.

Other key findings of AT&T’s 2009 business continuity study:

  • Budgets — 40 percent of executives said IT budgets will likely be lower in 2009 than in 2007-2008, and 24 percent said budgets will be higher. Companies that have business continuity plans are more likely to expect budget increases.
  • Mobility — 67 percent of executives said wireless network capabilities are part of their business continuity plans, with 46 percent of them adding that mobile devices also play a major role in their plans.
  • Social networking — 75 percent of executives are concerned about the potential impact of the use of Web 2.0 tools on network security, although 44 percent allow employees access to social-networking sites.
  • Security — 30 percent of executives rank hacking as the biggest security risk to companies, and only 3 percent name social networking as the greatest security threat.
  • Business continuity plans — About 33 percent of companies have had to use their plans, mostly because of bad weather (25 percent) and power outages (19 percent). Of the areas surveyed, companies in Houston (52 percent) and the Florida cities of Miami, Orlando and Tampa (51 percent) are most likely to invoke their plans. Only 36 percent of companies nationally have used their plans.
  • Business recovery — 74 percent of businesses set target recovery times for their key business processes, compared with 67 percent in 2008. In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, they have arrangements for communicating with key executives using voice, e-mail and text messaging.
  • Supplier requirements — About 33 percent of companies require suppliers and other vendors to have continuity-of-operations plans as a requirement of doing business with them.

AT&T ranks No. 42 on Washington Technology’s 2009 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

About the Author

Sami Lais is a special contributor to Washington Technology.

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