Sharp drop in overall security spending forecast from Gartner due to COVID-19

The pandemic is causing security spending in 2020 to shrink dramatically in most, but not all, segments, according to a revised estimate.

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Analytics firm Gartner has revised its 2020 security spending forecast in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, predicting an increase, but a much smaller one than originally expected.

Gartner's original 2020 security spending forecast issued in December 2019 predicted an 8.7% growth rate, which is now being revised down to only 2.4% growth.

 "Overall we expect a pause and a reduction of growth in both security software and services during 2020," said Gartner Managing VP Lawrence Pingree, which he attributes directly to COVID-19. 

Despite the overall decline in security spending in 2020, some segments of the cybersecurity market are seeing increases directly attributable to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

"There are a few factors in favor of some security market segments, such as cloud-based offerings and subscriptions, being propped up by demand or delivery model. Some security spending will not be discretionary and the positive trends cannot be ignored," Pingree said.

SEE: COVID-19: A guide and checklist for restarting your business (TechRepublic Premium)

Reflecting that, Gartner predicts a 33.3% increase in spending on cloud security in 2020 over 2019. Other areas seeing growth are data security at 7.2%, application security at 6.2%, and identity access management and infrastructure protection, both predicted to grow by 5.8%. 

Most segments will still see gains, albeit smaller than the ones listed above. Of the 10 security segments listed in Gartner's prediction, only two of them are forecasted to decline: Network security equipment and consumer security software at -12.6% and -0.3%, respectively. 

Resilience in the security market, Gartner said, is largely due to increased penetration of the cloud-based delivery model, which was responsible for 12% of overall security deployments in 2019. 

In general, cloud-based delivery models have exceeded 50% of deployments for markets such as secure email and web gateways, Gartner said.

Cloud-based security has been expected to grow rapidly for some time, and new security concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic may serve to accelerate that transition as remote work means there's less need for centralized security inside of a castle-like perimeter. 

This tracks with Gartner's predictions for loss in the network security hardware department: Why invest in securing an on-premise network when more of your business is moving to the cloud? 

Cloud-hosted SaaS security tools can reduce overhead and free up IT time spent updating software, but they aren't without their drawbacks. A March 2020 survey of security professionals found that many have data privacy concerns, fears over service disruptions, and software integration, and worries over data sovereignty.

Gartner clients can read a full report of security spending at Gartner's website, and tech decision makers should be sure to check out Gartner's COVID-19 resilience resource center for strategies in adapting to the changing business technology landscape.

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