3 ways to invest in IT during a recession while keeping costs low

The world is experiencing an onslaught of economic uncertainty, and the IT industry is facing headwinds just like any other. Gartner recently lowered their expectations for IT budgets to increase by just 2.2% in 2023 on average – lower than the projected 6.5% global inflation rate.

But the economic turmoil doesn’t mean your competitors are going to stop investing in technology – CIOs still need to spend to improve operational excellence. The spending just needs to be more focused on modernizing legacy systems and streamlining tools for higher efficiency and lower redundancy where possible.

Here are tips for making the most of your IT budget in a recession.

Invest in revenue growth edge

If you have on-premises solutions, now is the time to upgrade. Modern edge solutions represent a generational shift, expanding the capabilities of the cloud while reducing the costs of stitching together piecemeal solutions and managing servers.

Let’s take a look back. The first wave of cloud provided flexibility and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). But these offerings were still the same primitives as your on-premise technology. Servers were replaced with cloud servers (like EC2) and network-attached storage with cloud storage (like S3). If you experienced a traffic spike, the cloud provided the flexibility to provision more infrastructure but the work to scale up (and down) was on your team to manage.

New edge solutions abstract this away. Developers can deploy applications, and it’s automatically hosted and delivered as appropriate without having to manage servers. Modern edge platforms are built to unify application tools to lower TCO, increase efficiency and reduce errors. This can double developer velocity.

Many businesses don’t realize updating their legacy technology stacks can be a hidden source of increased revenue. According to McKinsey, developer velocity is an often overlooked issue that can improve business revenue fivefold for all companies.

2. Beware of the tool tax

Nearly half of DevOps use between two and five tools, and 41% use between six and 10 tools. It’s costing companies $2.5 million per year – and, in fact, 69% of development and operation teams want to consolidate their tools due to hidden costs, insufficient agility, and the time maintenance takes away from managing security and compliance.

In other words, businesses are paying an invisible “tool sprawl tax,” which is adding to the TCO and cutting into businesses’ ROI.

While three disjointed tools may somehow be cobbled together – they don’t necessarily play nicely together. To lower your TCO, you need one that actually integrates and manages tools for you. This means investing in a holistic, unified platform rather than having to buy from multiple vendors.

3. Don’t skimp on security

New CVEs and zero-day attacks are being discovered at higher rates year after year. Threats are increasing faster than your headcount. Do not let up on security; others certainly aren’t. In fact, security improvements are the number one reason for tech budgets increasing in 2023.

Learn from others: 71% CIOs rate their internal organizations’ security as good or excellent. Yet 43% feel “somewhat” or “very” unprepared for the future. Why is that?

Invest and spend wisely by asking yourself these questions:

Does your vendor have the network scale to stop increasingly large attacks at the edge, to maintain the highest levels of reliability and performance?

Are you using automation and/or machine learning to help you adapt to constantly evolving threats?

Can you deploy virtual patches and update the WAAP ruleset across your network to mitigate Zero Days threats immediately?

Do you have flexible engagement models, including self-service with simple and predictable pricing?

If the answer to one or more of these is no, it’s time to re-evaluate your current solution and consider one that reduces friction points through automated operations at the edge.


Sometimes, the best starts are born during a recession. Ironically, the smartest investment to your out-of-control technology spending is more technology – but better suited for leaping past your competition and growing revenue. You don’t want to be too busy sawing the tree to take time to sharpen the saw.

Forward-thinking companies need to look for ways to address friction points through scaled, automated operations that only the edge can provide. Find an edge-enabled solution that integrates application security and performance into the development process for efficiency, compliance facilitation, and cost reduction.

Edgio operates a global edge network with vertically integrated edge solutions for web apps and APIs. Click here to learn more.

IT Leadership