Western Europe will increase spending on IT security products despite the shaky economic conditions caused by the credit crisis, according to new figures released on Monday by IDC.

Companies still have "gaps" in identity and access management, threat mitigation and compliance, IDC said in a five-page research note.

IT security spending - including hardware, software and services - will increase this year to 12.5 billion euros (£10.2 billion), up 17.3 percent over 2007's 10.6 billion euros (£8.49 billion), IDC said. The growth rate will decline over the next four years, down to 11.8 percent by 2012, IDC said.

The study covered Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

The figures contradict overall IT spending trends. IDC said some North American and European companies have frozen IT investments due to the banking crisis, which first hit the US but now is reverberating through Europe.

Online banking security spending is expected to increase in Western Europe as more countries implement new regulations. In the US, IDC said, security spending by banks was fuelled by new rules put in place by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.

Sales of security hardware devices - or unified threat management devices, which are capable of multiple network security tasks - will also increase, IDC said.

Companies are also deploying more and more laptops, IDC said. Laptops full of data can pose risks if lost. Laptops can also introduce malicious software programs to corporate networks when their owner comes back to the office.

"These remote connections open major threats to companies' IT systems and generate massive investments in security products," the report said.