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The top three priorities for IT professionals are improving security overall (52%), increasing IT productivity through automation (33%) and migrating to the cloud (32%), according to Kaseya’s newly-released 2022 IT Operations Report.

The main three challenges are cybersecurity and data protection (49%), insufficient IT budgets and resources to meet demands (29%), and legacy systems that hamper growth and innovation (21%), according to the annual report.

Not surprisingly, the increase in remote work has reinforced security as a priority with 53% of respondents saying they expect security staffing to increase this year, representing a 7% increase over last year, while 86% of IT professionals expect their security budget to increase or stay the same this year.

About one-third of respondents identified security incidents and concerns among the top three budget drivers.

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In terms of increasing staffing in other areas of IT, respondents cited general staff (32%), help desk (31%), DevOps (22%) and system administration (21%).

Automation and integration

IT professionals also have their eyes on updating infrastructure, integration and automating processes. Some 54% of respondents support integration strongly, up from 48% last year, the report said.

Most people surveyed shared that integration between all of their systems is the best approach, Kaseya said. When asked which systems specifically would benefit the most from integrations, access to IT documentation in both endpoint management and services desk tools, ability to run automation scripts and ticket management were identified as the top three.

Outdated infrastructure is the biggest budget driver after business growth with 40% of respondents looking to update their technology this year.

About 33% of respondents ranked increasing IT productivity through automation among the top three business priorities, while 48% are planning to invest in automation technologies in 2023.

Another notable takeaway is that remote workforce management, which was the third biggest budget driver last year, slipped three spots with 22% of respondents considering it an important driver.

IT budgets in 2022

Thanks to modern developments, such as remote workforce management, cybersecurity and digitalization, businesses are more open to setting aside a larger slice of the budget for IT.

“In other words, IT budgets are being viewed as an investment instead of a cost,’’ the Kaseya report said.

According to this year’s survey, budgets increased in five out of nine budget brackets. Budgets also increased in brackets with a starting point of $500,000 and a cap of $25 million.

Around 42% of respondents cited an increase in their IT budgets for 2022. Only 10% of respondents said their budget decreased this year while about 34% of the respondents anticipate their budget will remain the same. The data strongly suggests businesses are spending more money upgrading and strengthening their IT infrastructure, the report said.

In terms of resources allocation, nearly one-quarter of respondents (24%) dedicate between 11% and 25% of their resources to IT support/help desk while 29% commit 26% to 50% of their resources in this area.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents spend as much as 25% of their resources on IT security.  About three-fourths (74%) of respondents spend up to 25% of their resources on backup and disaster recovery.

The top IT functions businesses are outsourcing to MSPs

Respondents were also asked about the IT functions they are outsourcing to third-party providers, who are taking on more responsibilities than just fixing problems ad hoc. They cited:

  • IT security (22%, up from 17% in 2021)
  • Cloud infrastructure management (21%, up from 19% in 2021)
  • Backup management (19%, down from 21% in 2021)
  • Network monitoring (19%, up from 17% in 2021)
  • Help desk (17%, up from 12% in 2021)
  • Endpoint management of desktops, laptops and servers (14%, up from 10% in 2021)

The report also said 60% of respondents turn to their MSP when evaluating new technology.

Kaseya said it surveyed 2,000 IT professionals worldwide at small and mid-sized businesses over the past year. The goal was to understand how IT professionals run their businesses, what technologies they are interested in, where they are investing and what trends they hope to capitalize on in 2022.

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