Report: Security Tops CIOs' IT Investment List

Information security was chosen as the top technology, with 43 percent of the 1,400 respondents expecting to invest in that area. That was followed by virtualization (28 percent) and data center efficiency (27 percent).

"Although times are lean, many companies are finding that they can't afford to postpone IT investments that lead to increased security, efficiencies or revenues," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a statement. "Organizations also are trying to make sure they are prepared for growth when conditions improve, and enhancing their IT infrastructure is part of that process."

Security, virtualization and data center technology will be featured at Everything Channel's Midsize Enterprise Summit, to be held in Miami on May 3 to 6. The event brings together more than 300 CIOs from midsize companies.

CIOs in the financial services and transportation sectors were most likely to cite information security as an investment in the next 12 months, with 59 percent and 58 percent of respondents, respectively, citing that technology. Other technologies rounding out the top five investments for CIOs are VoIP (26 percent) and Software-as-a-Service (26 percent).

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"Subscribing to SaaS, rather than purchasing software licenses, is a particularly attractive option for businesses with tight IT budgets," according to Robert Half Technology. "

Other IT initiatives for which CIOs are planning less investment include green IT (20 percent), business intelligence (19 percent), social networking (18 percent), Web 2.0 (17 percent) and outsourcing (16 percent).

Glenn Leatherwood, director of IT architecture at Valmont Industries, Valley, Neb., said the results didn't surprise him.

"I would agree that information security is a big focal point right now. For us, virtualization is No. 1 and then security," Leatherwood said.

One area that surprised him was the strength of VoIP.

"We pulled VoIP off the table. We don't have the skills or tools to troubleshoot it. People are very focused on hard ROI for VoIP. Our problem is it just doesn't meet our criteria for capital investment," he said.