Information security: Budgets Down, Hiring Up

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The latest research among infosec professionals has found the tide of budget cuts has turned and recruitment is back on the agenda.

A new survey carried out among information security professionals suggests that, although budgets have been affected by the downturn, hiring is on the up.

Nearly two thirds (72 per cent) of over 2,500 members of the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium ((ISC)²) said their budgets had been cut. But a further 53 per cent said they did not expect any additional cuts for the remainder of the year.

John Colley, managing director of (ISC)² Europe told eWeek Europe that, although efforts to cut back on spending by organisations had a “significant impact” on security spending, “they have been cutting in a more sensible way, as opposed to swingeing 10 or 20 per cent cuts across the board”.

“Cuts are being justified by being described in terms of what they mean to the business,” added Colley. At the same time, high-profile data losses at the hands of more determined cyber criminals, as well as compliance and regulation, mean security has not dropped down the corporate agenda during hard times.

Of the nearly one third of respondents who identified themselves as having hiring responsibilities, 43 per cent said they were looking to hire additional information security staff this year as an early indicator of recovery.

And, while roughly half of survey respondents said their information security departments had experienced at least one lay-off in the past few months. Just over 52 per cent said they anticipated no additional personnel cuts during the remainder of this year.

The areas of expertise most sought after were information risk management, operations security, access control systems and methodology, security management practices, and applications and systems development security.

Colley added: “The industry may have been anticipating reduced spending on security. But this has been mainly on the equipment side. Organisations may have cut staff or people may have left as a knee-jerk reaction to the recession, but they’ve now found they don’t have the right resources or skills.”

The survey found more than 73 per cent believed the economic downturn had had a somewhat or significant impact on their purchases of security equipment and technology. Although 51 per cent also said spending would not decrease for the remainder of the year.