Security is the top investment organizations plan to make this year in managed services, with storage, backup and disaster recovery coming in second place, according to survey results released this month by CompTIA , the Computing Technology Industry Association.
"Security is at the top of everybody's agenda these days," partly because of financial reporting requirements set by the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act, says Steven Ostrowski, CompTIA spokesman.
One-third of 322 organizations surveyed said they plan to make new investments or increase spending on managed security services this year, according to CompTIA. All of the organizations surveyed were already users of managed services. The top five investments they plan, in order, are (1) security; (2) storage, backup and disaster recovery; (3) Web or e-mail hosting; (4) network monitoring and administration; and (5) application subscription (such as software as a service).
CompTIA defines managed services as the "ongoing management, monitoring, and maintenance of networks, software, hardware, and related IT services by an external organization."
Ostrowski says managed services is akin to outsourcing but that CompTIA doesn't like to use that term because companies don't necessarily get rid of jobs in their IT department when they use managed services. The service method allows companies to focus on core competencies and avoid working on tasks for which they lack the expertise.
Web and e-mail hosting is among the top uses of managed services because "those are (among) the things that are easily done by a third party," Ostrowski says.
Thirty percent of companies surveyed said they choose managed services because certain IT functions are less expensive when handled by an outside firm.
Companies using managed services expect the field to grow significantly. According to Ostrowski, 35 percent expect that 500 or more vendors will enter the managed services industry this year.