One in five IT directors believe that cuts in IT spending have made them more vulnerable to network security threats, according to a new report.

Research company Omniboss and Vanson Bourne asked 100 UK IT directors about their IT priories for 2004. A total of 18 percent of respondents believed that the pressure to reduce overall IT spending had compromised network security.

A quarter of the IT directors said that cutting IT spending was still their number one priority. However, only 13 percent in smaller companies (turnover of less than £250 million) said this was the case, indicating that budget pressures are being felt most by large enterprises.

Overall, the single most important issue for IT directors in 2004 is network security, according to Omniboss. Some 48 percent said that security was their top priority, and an additional 32 percent putting it second.

The survey also asked IT directors how important they considered various issues. Overall, 17 percent said improving collaboration between partners, suppliers and customers was the most important IT task for 2004, while just 11 percent went for improving productivity.

However, results varied widely between industries: no respondents in the finance sector said that collaboration was their first priority. In this industry, 38 percent said they are firmly focused on cutting costs.