Vulnerabilities / Threats
01:25 PM

Help Wanted: Businesses Seek Information Security Professionals

Enterprises worldwide need more 'infosec' professionals and are willing to pay high salaries for experienced talent, says new survey.

10 Companies Driving Mobile Security
10 Companies Driving Mobile Security
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
It’s good times for information security professionals: In 2011, only 7% experienced unemployment, and 70% saw an increase in salary. In 2012, more than half expect to see their salary increase.

Those findings come from a new survey of 2,250 information security professionals in 87 countries, conducted by information security professional body (ISC)2. Interestingly, 96% of the respondents were employed at the time they took the survey.

In other words, despite the lagging economy, demand continues to be strong for information security professionals. "In spite of all the things that are going on that one would normally expect to have negative effects on job employment across the board, it really doesn't seem to be manifesting for security people," said Hord Tipton, executive director of (ISC)2, via phone. In 2011, notably, 72% of organizations said that they hired information security personnel, and 62% said they plan to hire more permanent or contract employees for that purpose this year.

According to Tipton, demand for information security professionals appears to be strong worldwide. "Looking across all sectors and all types--and this is not just a U.S. survey--there is consistency across the board in the findings. No one country stands out, so it's essentially a global situation," he said.

[ What's in store for mobile security? See Mobile Security's Future: 4 Expert Predictions. ]

One explanation for the apparent job security is the fact that the frequency and complexity of attacks against businesses and government agencies appears to be increasing. Notably, 56% of survey respondents said they'd seen their organization's security risks increase in 2011, for which one-third blamed on the profusion of mobile devices in the enterprise. As a result, 30% of surveyed organizations said they'll increase their security budgets in 2012.

When it comes to the discipline of information security, what's hot? For respondents who said they'll be hiring, the top skills they're seeking are a solid grasp of information security concepts (for 80%), technical skills (76%), and relevant experience (72%). Other top skills include operations security (55%), security management practices (52%), access control systems/methodology (51%), security architecture/models (50%), risk management (49%), telecom/network security (45%), applications/system development security (44%), and cloud/virtualization (35%).

At least half of hiring organizations appear to be seeking security generalists. "One of the things we see, particularly with the tightening economy, is that while it would be nice [for organizations] to have deep technical specialists in all facets of operations, that's just not realistic. Budgets do not allow that, and when you see the listing of skills they're looking for ... they're really looking for multi-focused people," said Tipton.

Regardless, information security appears to be a seller's market. Notably, while one-third of respondents said they'd changed jobs, half of them said they made the move because it offered better opportunities for advancement. On the flip side, half of organizations report that it's been "somewhat difficult" to find good-fit candidates for open security positions, while one-third said it's been "very difficult." Furthermore, hiring appears to often be a drawn-out process. One-third of organizations reported that it had taken between three and six months to fill an open security position, while 13% said it required more than six months.

There are no silver bullets when it comes to protecting company and customer data from loss or theft, but there are technological and procedural systems that will go a long way toward preventing a WikiLeaks-like data dump. Download our How To Prevent An Online Data Dump report. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
2/16/2012 | 5:59:38 AM
re: Help Wanted: Businesses Seek Information Security Professionals
Hi Bprince,

InfoSec Certifications are always in demand and will stay there because in any corporation, Information security is very important. Data is asset to any corporation and if there is loss or hack of data, it is loss of revenue and value to the corporation. You would had heard about sony and citibank hack recently and hence we can alwasy say that infosec professional demand will not go down in far future.

Drew Morrigan
Drew Morrigan,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/16/2012 | 5:52:56 AM
re: Help Wanted: Businesses Seek Information Security Professionals
Very important, I hope! (I just passed my SSCP test and am awaiting cert approval from ISC2)

But objectively, I think if you want to be taken more seriously than an amateur or someone who is 'helping,' you need some letters after your name. You can't wholly demonstrate IS competancy through straight-up experience unless you have a boatload of it, at which point a cert would be redundant.
User Rank: Ninja
2/16/2012 | 12:12:41 AM
re: Help Wanted: Businesses Seek Information Security Professionals
@readers: How important are security certifications these days?
Brian Prince, InformationWeek/Dark Reading Comment Moderator
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest September 7, 2015
Some security flaws go beyond simple app vulnerabilities. Have you checked for these?
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2015-10-09
Simple Streams (simplestreams) does not properly verify the GPG signatures of disk image files, which allows remote mirror servers to spoof disk images and have unspecified other impact via a 403 (aka Forbidden) response.

Published: 2015-10-09
The Telephony component in Apple OS X before 10.11, when the Continuity feature is enabled, allows local users to bypass intended telephone-call restrictions via unspecified vectors.

Published: 2015-10-09
IcedTea-Web before 1.5.3 and 1.6.x before 1.6.1 does not properly sanitize applet URLs, which allows remote attackers to inject applets into the .appletTrustSettings configuration file and bypass user approval to execute the applet via a crafted web page, possibly related to line breaks.

Published: 2015-10-09
IcedTea-Web before 1.5.3 and 1.6.x before 1.6.1 does not properly determine the origin of unsigned applets, which allows remote attackers to bypass the approval process or trick users into approving applet execution via a crafted web page.

Published: 2015-10-09
The Safari Extensions implementation in Apple Safari before 9 does not require user confirmation before replacing an installed extension, which has unspecified impact and attack vectors.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
What can the information security industry do to solve the IoT security problem? Learn more and join the conversation on the next episode of Dark Reading Radio.