New Report: These 4 Things Are Top of Mind for IT Professionals This Year

Written by Kate Lake on February 14, 2024

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On Feb 14, JumpCloud released its latest iteration of its IT Trends report, “State of IT 2024: The Rise of AI, Economic Uncertainty, and Evolving Security Threats.” In the report, JumpCloud surveyed 1,213 SME IT decision-makers in the U.K., U.S., and India about their perspectives and experiences around their work and the IT industry. 

The IT professionals surveyed included managers, directors, vice presidents, and executives. All respondents worked at small to medium-sized organizations (SMEs) with 2,500 or fewer employees across a variety of industries.

Amidst economic uncertainty, rising security threats, and the explosion of AI, learn what’s top of mind for these IT professionals in 2024. 

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all statistics in this article refer to JumpCloud’s State of IT 2024 report. 

The Macroeconomy 

Given the market’s unpredictability in 2023, it likely comes as no surprise that the macroeconomy made the list of things IT professionals are concerned with. The survey reflected that the IT industry continues to wrestle with economic uncertainties. Many IT teams are unsure about what’s in store for their organizations and operations this year.

For one, more than half of the IT professionals surveyed saw layoffs at their organization in the last year, and 51% expect to see them in the next six months. Only 27% of respondents said their organizations haven’t experienced layoffs and don’t expect any in the next six months.

graph depicting layoff %
The majority of respondents saw layoffs at their organization in the last six months, and only 26.5% neither experienced layoffs nor expect to see them in the next six months.

Rising vendor costs are exacerbating economic concerns: 88% of IT professionals said that vendors had increased their prices over the last six months. These rising prices can put additional stress on IT professionals and may bring into question the value that each vendor brings to the table. IT professionals have indicated a desire for consolidated IT management, which may be a possible solution to rising vendor prices.

Despite these uncertainties, the majority of IT professionals are expecting budget increases in their IT departments. Over 80% of IT professionals reported that they expect an increase in their IT budgets and 20% expect an increase of more than 20%. While the World Bank projects the global economy to slow for the third year in a row, only 5.4% of SMEs expect to see a decrease in their IT budget.

Over 80% of surveyed IT professionals expect their IT budget to increase this year.

IT professionals are no strangers to the critical role IT plays as the foundation and framework for the organization as a whole. Fortunately, this continued investment in IT despite looming economic uncertainty may indicate that business leaders similarly value the importance of IT to the organization. Read our blog, Two Critical Decisions You Make in IT, to learn more about how IT decisions can have ripple effects across the entire organization.

Artificial Intelligence

AI saw a significant boom in 2023 as new developments (like OpenAI’s ChatGPT) made functions like content generation highly accessible and effective. AI was swiftly adopted for a wide variety of applications. Many AI tools, like AI-assisted code completion, content generation, helpdesk automation, and others became part of the IT work environment. 

For IT, AI seems to be a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, the vast majority of IT professionals see AI as a net positive, and only 6% see it as a net negative.

AI graph
IT professionals’ sentiment about the outlook for AI at their organization is overwhelmingly positive.

Further, about three-quarters (76%) of IT professionals agree their organization should be investing in AI, and only 13% of organizations do not currently have any plans to implement AI initiatives. As far as how quickly their organizations act on AI adoption, most admins (55%) think they’re moving at the right pace; roughly equal amounts think they are moving too quickly (22%) or too slow (19%). 

On the other hand, however, many IT professionals are concerned with AI’s implications on security. The majority of respondents (62%) said that AI is outpacing their organization’s ability to protect against threats. 

Interestingly, the survey results indicated that larger organizations are significantly more likely to have existing policies around AI. In organizations with 500 or more employees, 71% have developed company-specific AI policies, versus 37% of organizations with 10 or fewer employees. IT professionals at these smaller organizations are also more wary of AI adoption: 58% of those in organizations with 10 or fewer employees support AI adoption, versus 82% of organizations with 500 employees or more. 

Organizations with 500 or more employees are far more likely to have AI policies in place than small organizations with fewer than 10 employees. IT professionals at these smaller organizations are also less likely to support AI adoption.

Because AI’s entrance into the workplace is so new, many security and compliance questions remain unanswered — and it raises several new ones. Learn more about AI and security in our blog.

Security & Compliance

Unsurprisingly, security has remained the top concern among IT professionals: 56% reported that security is their biggest IT challenge, and 56% are more concerned about their organizations’ security posture than they were six months ago. IT professionals reported that network attacks were their biggest challenge (40%), followed by software vulnerability exploits (34%), and ransomware (29%).

The top 3 security concerns for IT professionals are network attacks (40%), software vulnerability exploits (34%), and ransomware (29%). 

Fortunately, IT admins have made significant strides when it comes to security. For example, multi-factor authentication (MFA) adoption has grown significantly.  When we conducted a similar survey In 2021, 52.6% of responding IT professionals said they required MFA across all tools and resources; now, that number has shot up to 83%. Similarly, 66% of orgs now require biometrics — up from 55% in our 2023 survey.


In addition to security concerns, IT teams are under heightened pressure around compliance and regulation requirements. Three-quarters (75%) of IT professionals said that more compliance and regulation requirements had been mandated in their region. India reported the highest shift toward compliance and regulation, with 83% of India-based respondents reporting additional compliance and regulation requirements, versus 75% in the U.S. and 67% in the U.K. 

The majority of IT professionals saw increases in compliance regulations in the last year, with India-based respondents taking the lead.


MSP engagement is highly popular with SMEs; 76% of SME IT professionals said their organization uses an MSP for at least some services.

As IT professionals’ concerns and duties mount, managed service providers (MSPs) are becoming a significantly more common solution. Over three-quarters (76%) of the IT professionals surveyed use an MSP for at least some services, and over a third (42%) use an MSP to completely manage their IT environment — a 56% increase from April 2023.

The top reasons SMEs reported using an MSP are that they are up to date on the latest technologies (65%), they can provide a better user experience (60%), and they are cost-effective (57%).

What Do SMEs Use MSPs for?

System security is the most common reason SMEs use MSPs, followed by cloud storage (52%), system monitoring (51%), system management (47%), managed backup (40%), hardware procurement (34%), business continuity/disaster recovery (32%), help desk (35%), and change management (27%).

What Do IT Teams Need?

There’s no question that IT professionals are under significant pressure trying to balance emerging technologies, rising security and compliance mandates, and an uncertain economy. So, what do IT professionals need to succeed?

According to the data, the following are critical to many IT teams’ success this year:

  • Strong investment in IT and security. 72% of IT professionals agreed that any cuts to their security budget will increase organizational risk, and 88% reported that vendors increased prices over the last six months. Fortunately, organizations seem to be offering IT teams the right support: over 80% of IT professionals expect an increase in their IT budgets. 
  • Flexible device management. Windows use is down and macOS and Linux use is up year-over-year. The average device type breakdown in SMEs is Windows at 60% (down from 64% in April 2023), macOS at 22% (up from 20% in April 2023), and Linux at 22% (up from 16% in April 2023). IT teams need solutions that can accommodate diverse and changing device environments.
  • Centralized IT management. Faced with a wide variety of mission-critical functions to manage, IT professionals have expressed a desire for a centralized approach to IT management. Three-quarters (75%) of IT professionals would prefer a single tool to do their job over a number of point solutions. In practice, though, respondents commonly need five to 10 applications to manage worker lifecycle (37%). Nearly one-quarter (22%) need 11 or more, and nearly 1 in 10 (9%) require more than 15. 

Read the Report

To dive deeper into the latest SME IT insights, download the full survey report: State of IT 2024: The Rise of AI, Economic Uncertainty, and Evolving Security Threats.

Kate Lake

Kate Lake is a Senior Content Writer at JumpCloud, where she writes about JumpCloud’s cloud directory platform and trends in IT, technology, and security. She holds a Bachelors in Linguistics from the University of Virginia and is driven by a lifelong passion for writing and learning. When she isn't writing for JumpCloud, Kate can be found traveling, exploring the outdoors, or quoting a sci-fi movie (often all at once).

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