Security software is now the top priority infrastructure software investment, according to Gartner. The analyst said changing working practices, combined with an ever evolving threat landscape, had made security an essential consideration in any infrastructure spending plans.

As businesses seek competitive advantages by enabling mobile working, more employee and company-owned devices are seeking access to company networks. Gartner said companies need to have software in place that can handle the increased security demands. It added that with more businesses also looking to outsource to third parties, companies need to provide connectivity without leaving themselves vulnerable.

Security has now moved ahead of virtualisation as the top priority in Europe, according to the report. Gartner attributed this partly to the high level of virtualisation adoption which already exists in the region. However, it said virtualisation infrastructure software remained a top three priority worldwide as most organisations, especially in North America, move toward 70% virtualisation.

The study, which examined enterprise IT budgets, also found organisations were planning to increase spending on both on and off premise software throughout 2013 and 2014.

Hai Hong Swineheart, research analyst at Gartner, said: “Results from the survey indicate that software spending will increase modestly worldwide through the 2014 budget year, with new software sales (on-premises) and software-as-a-service driving this increased spending.”