Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


It's the People, Stupid

After years of investing in technology, IT security departments are putting more effort - and dollars - in people and processes, study says

IT security people are shifting their attention away from technology and toward people and processes, according to a major study released today.

When asked to rank their top priorities, more than 4,000 security professionals in more than 100 different countries named two "people" issues: gaining support from management and getting users to follow security policies, researchers said. Hardware solutions and software solutions ranked at the end of the list.

"Over the past six years or so, there's been a lot of emphasis on technology buying and technology implementation, but security professionals and their companies are really beginning to see that technology is only part of the answer. There's no 'god box' that's going to solve the problem," said Allan Carey, senior research director at International Data, which conducted the study.

The Global Information Security Workforce Study, now in its third year, is sponsored annually by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2, an international training and professional association for IT security workers. The research was conducted by IDC. The results were presented today at the RSA Europe conference in Nice, France and at the InfoSecurity conference in New York.

The study, which tracks hiring practices, budgets, and attitudes among security professionals, indicates that organizations are spending a greater percentage of their IT security budgets on personnel and training than in past years when more of the money went to the purchase and implementation of technology.

"Regulatory requirements such as [Sarbanes Oxley] and [the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act] are forcing organizations to take a closer look at their people and processes," Carey noted. "When you look at the big security breaches that have occurred this year, a lot of them have been caused by human error. That's where more work needs to be done."

Interestingly, however, organizations are finding it difficult to locate skilled security staff to work on the problem. While the number of security professionals increased 8.1 percent worldwide in the past year, "you can look at any jobs site and see that there are a lot of open positions out there," Carey noted. As a result, many organizations are giving more responsibility to junior-level staffers and security outsourcing organizations, the report says.

"If they can't hire somebody with the skills they need, a lot of companies are taking a junior staffer and investing in the training and certifications they need within the organization," Carey said.

"We see this as a confirmation of our strategy to build education and certification programs that can help organizations get the skills they need," said Elise Yacobellis, director of corporate development for (ISC)2.

Security professionals aren't ignoring the technology issue, however. In the study, respondents rated biometrics, wireless security, intrusion prevention, and forensics tools as high priorities.

"Biometrics rated either number one or number two across all regions, which is a relatively new trend," said Carey. "In the past, the technology has been costly and cumbersome. But now, with companies like Lenovo bundling biometrics right into the PC -- and with identity fraud becoming such a big issue -- it could be that this is a market where something's really going to happen."

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • International Data Corp
  • (ISC)2 Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
    Dark Reading Staff 5/22/2020
    How an Industry Consortium Can Reinvent Security Solution Testing
    Henry Harrison, Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer, Garrison,  5/21/2020
    Is Zero Trust the Best Answer to the COVID-19 Lockdown?
    Dan Blum, Cybersecurity & Risk Management Strategist,  5/20/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Cartoon Contest
    Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
    Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
    Current Issue
    How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
    This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
    Flash Poll
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
    The Knock Knock plugin before 1.2.8 for Craft CMS allows IP Whitelist bypass via an X-Forwarded-For HTTP header.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
    The Knock Knock plugin before 1.2.8 for Craft CMS allows malicious redirection.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
    EM-HTTP-Request 1.1.5 uses the library eventmachine in an insecure way that allows an attacker to perform a man-in-the-middle attack against users of the library. The hostname in a TLS server certificate is not verified.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
    An issue was discovered in the Image Resizer plugin before 2.0.9 for Craft CMS. There are CSRF issues with the log-clear controller action.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
    An issue was discovered in the Image Resizer plugin before 2.0.9 for Craft CMS. There is stored XSS in the Bulk Resize action.