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People - not products - are most important to security

As Brit sec-pros get paid twice as much as the French

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People and processes are more important than security products in securing enterprise systems, according to a global survey of IT security pros published on Wednesday.

The third annual Global Information Security Workforce Study, sponsored by security certification organisation (ISC)2 and carried out by IDC, saw punters listing the most important factors in security systems as (in order of importance): management support of security policies; users following security policy; qualified security staff; software solutions and hardware solutions.

Processes and people are more important in keeping hackers at bay than security products, the survey found. Security pros said more organisation are beginning to realise that technology is an enabler - rather than the be all and end all - in addressing information security concerns. The study also found that more than 40 percent of information security budgets is spent on personnel, education and training, up around 5 per cent on previous years. Information security risk management is seen as a particular training priority.

"Security breaches that have made headlines during the past year have been a result of human error, and this year’s Global Information Security Workforce Study further validates the conventional wisdom long-held by information security professionals that people are the critical component of an effective information security program," said Ed Zeitler, executive director of (ISC)2.

IDC analysed responses from 4,016 information security professionals in 100 countries worldwide. The web-based study is described as the most comprehensive study of the global information security profession ever undertaken. IDC reckons the global information security workforce numbers 1.5m, an 8.1 percent increase over 2005. This figure is expected to increase to just over 2m by 2010, representing a rate of increase of 7.8 per cent around a year. This is higher than the 4.6 per cent estimated growth rate for the IT industry as a whole.

Show us the money

Information security pros in the UK are better rewarded than their European counterparts but they still earn less than US-based specialists. Average salaries globally are $81,000 (€64,031) compared to $70,169 (€55,617) in EMEA as a whole, $96,850 (€76,890) in the UK, $52,300 (€41,533) in France and $62,000 (€49,221) in Germany. Continuing a trend identified in last year’s study, responsibility for securing information assets is shifting from the chief information officer (CIO) into other areas of senior management and business, including the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief risk officer, as well as legal and compliance departments.

Common security technologies being rolled out by organisations across all regions include biometrics, wireless security, intrusion prevention and forensics tools. Biometrics ranked in either first or second spot across all regions. ®

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