Survey: Salary, demand for security pros increasing

Cyber terrorism fears in the age of insecurity has spread to Australian organisations who have reprioritised IT budgets to increase security spending in 2002.

The increased focus on security and infrastructure integrity is also reflected in demand and salaries for IT security professionals which is on the rise.

Figures released in both Australia and the US show salaries for security positions grew up to three per cent in 2001 while salaries in other areas such as e-commerce and Lotus Notes remain flat due to the current economy.

According to the Quarterly IT professional salary survey IT security skills are hot and recruitment agency manager at Robert Walters, Eddie Lui, said September 11 has added a sense of urgency to the network security agenda.

Lui said driving demand for IT security skills is a need by companies to review and implement processes in line with the revised infrastructure models now in place.

"Infrastructure security is seen as a priority to many organisations who have undergone drastic internal changes to their business and systems. As businesses rationalise their IT infrastructure in cost optimisation exercises, new development projects and upgrades are put on hold with monies spent only on justifiable essentials," Lui said.

Glenn Floyd, CEO of the Institute of Online Security said there is a strong case to support IT security professionals demanding and commanding salaries in very high levels, particular within consultancies such as the Big Five.

Floyd said some specialists can command up to $3,000 to 4000 per day.

According to Floyd, companies need to train non-IT staff in risk awareness as "it is the non-IT users who are at risk and cause the greatest failures".

"These people spend more time than IT people exposing the risks. They are accessing the Internet, opening e-mails which could contain viruses and are dealing with the business itself whereas IT people are dealing with machines," he said.

According to Reefe Brighton, CIO, Aurora Energy a concern for IT managers is the real or potential threat for cyber crime directed at their company specifically.

"Each company now needs to re-think their threat profile on the basis of questions like: 'Are we an important part of State infrastructure?', 'Are we an icon of America and her allies and hence subject to cyberterrorism?', 'Are there other types of extremist groups who could take offence at our company over other issues like the environment or logging for example?' "According to the US surveys, four out of six security employees earn over US$100,000 in total compensation.

Between the third quarter of 2000 and the third quarter of 2001, pay for senior information security analysts increased by 13.5 per cent, and pay for corporate information security directors increased 10.6 per cent.

Pay for manager-level corporate security positions and Web/e-commerce security managers increased seven per cent.

According to the US survey, the top IT skills over the next 12 to 24 months include expertise in remote and wireless access, authorisation and authentication, B2B exchanges, privacy, cryptology and risk management.

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