According to research from 3Com, 48 per cent of IT directors surveyed said they saw IT security as more important than saving money.
"It's great to see the majority of enterprises are realising the importance of security," said Neil Venus, security solutions director at 3Com. "However, this survey suggests that a great many companies are still compromising on the security of their networks due to budget constraints, which is an extremely worrying trend."
The results demonstrated a possible upturn in IT spending, but showed the in the last 12 months one in five enterprises (18 per cent) jeopardised security as a result of budget constraints.
Medium-sized enterprises favoured collaboration strategies over cost cutting, which 3Com said, indicated that companies are looking for strategic investments.
"Businesses that do not allocate adequate funds to IT security could lose their intellectual property to theft; their data is at risk from destructive hackers, and they could find themselves in trouble if they breach the Data Protection Act of 1998," Venus said.
The research showed that the manufacturing sector regarded security as a higher priority than the financial sector. Almost two thirds of manufacturing companies cited security as their top priority compared to just over half of financial companies.