Record Security Breaches Drives Demand for IT Security Pros


By Tom Sloan

According to the recently published 2012 Career Impact Survey released by ISC, the information security profession offers not only stability but upward mobility. Results of the survey found that only 7% of information security professionals were unemployed at any point during 2011, with nearly 70% reporting a salary increase, and 55% expecting to receive an increase in 2012.


ISC is the information security professional body and administrators of the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), the information security profession. They surveyed more than 2,250 Information Security professionals and the majority predicts increases in both salaries and hiring in 2012.


Of the respondents, 72% said that in 2011, their organization hired individuals specifically for information security roles. A majority of respondents (62%) reported they are looking to hire additional permanent or contract information security employees in 2012.


Among those organizations hiring, 81% said an understanding of information security concepts is an important factor in their hiring decisions. 

Top Factors and Skills Sought in Hiring IT Security Professionals include:

1. directly related experience 72% 

2. technical skills 76%

3. Operations security 55%

4. Security management practices 52%

5. Access Control Systems/methodology 51%

6. Security Architecture/models 50%

7. Risk Management 49%

8. Telecom/Network security 45%

9. Applications/system development security 44%

10. Cloud or Virtualization skills 35%


According to W. Hord Tipton, executive director of ISC. "These results demonstrate that even in tough economic timrites, information security professionals are in high demand by hiring managers and organizations who understand that their skillsets are not only paramount to their organization s ability to conduct business but also give them a competitive advantage." 

"This data reflects the increase in security breaches we saw throughout 2011 and the fact that organizations, both in the public and private sector, are finally realizing the importance of implementing sound security programs that should be run by experienced and qualified professionals."


The survey also found roughly 34% reported an increase in new hires last year, and 51% plan to hire information security staff this year. Of those, 62% plan to hire one to two people, and 22% plan to hire three to four.


27% of respondents reported they saw an increase in layoffs in this field while 30% of respondents expect information security budgets and equipment purchases to increase in 2012.


In addition, 56% of those surveyed reported increased security risks in 2011, with 38% attributing most of that activity to mobile devices.


"Security is an ever-changing field that requires professionals to expand constantly upon their knowledge of today s advanced threats. Just as importantly, this field also calls for hands-on experience and the business know-how to implement robust security practices across an organization," Tipton added. 

"While it s a very positive sign that this field continues to grow and is somewhat recession-proof, one of the biggest challenges that remains is finding enough of the right people with the appropriate security skills to fill the huge void that exists right now. We must continue to build this workforce at an aggressive pace."

The survey was conducted from December 2011 to January 2012, with 2,256 respondents globally for the purpose of gaining insights into how economic conditions and security threats affected the information security profession in 2011 as well as to gauge the 2012 outlook. The most common sectors represented were government at 28.9%, information technology at 28.5%, professional services at 18.2%, banking at 11.3%, and telecommunications at 9.9%. The majority of respondents organizations had over 1,000 employees.

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Bill has been a member of the technology and publishing industries for more than 25 years and brings extensive expertise to the roles of CEO, CIO, and Executive Editor. Most recently, Bill was COO and Co-Founder of and the parent company PSN Inc. Previously, Bill held the position of CTO of both Wiseads New Media and