Almost two-thirds of chief information officers expect to increase spending on information technology this year by at least 2%, with security the top spending priority, according to a new survey.

While the number of CIOs who told Piper Jaffray researchers that they were expecting more than 2% growth was one percentage point lower than in the firm’s 2014 CIO survey, only 10% of respondents expected their budget to shrink in 2015 — down from 18% last year.

Spending increases are being fueled by a renewed level of confidence in gross domestic product growth, coupled with low interest rates and pent-up demand, according to Piper Jaffray’s report accompanying the 2015 survey.

“Both the results from 2015 and 2014 paint a fairly optimistic picture when compared with 2013, when 24% of survey participants reported budget declines heading into the New Year,” Piper Jaffray noted. “Though we are unable to precisely quantify the expected IT budget growth in 2015, we believe that on average the survey yields a forecasted annual growth rate of 2-3%.”

Research firm Gartner has predicted global IT spending growth of 3.9% in 2015, compared with roughly 2.6% last year.

As far as spending priorities, 75% of the CIOs polled by Piper Jaffray anticipate increasing spending on IT security this year, up from 59% in 2014. It is the second consecutive year that security has been the top priority.

“CIOs clearly have heightened concerns from the many security breaches that occurred in 2014,” Piper Jaffray said.

Symantec, Cisco, and Palo Alto Networks were the CIOs’ top preferred security vendors, while FireEye and Palo Alto Networks had the most votes for “plan to work with in 2015.”

The other top spending priorities included mobile devices (62% of responses), off-premise enterprise software (59%), storage (51%) and servers (45%). Cloud budgets are expected to rise by 6% in 2015.

For the 2015 survey, Piper Jaffray polled 112 CIOs across eight different industries. Eighty-five percent of them were from North America and 25% reported annual IT budgets in excess of $50 million.

Featured image: Thinkstock

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