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Robert Half identified that security is a key imperative driving growth in demand for skilled IT professionals

IT security professionals are set to be in huge demand for the rest of 2015, according to a new report from Robert Half Technology. Almost half (47 percent) of UK CIOs predict that they will appoint additional IT security personnel to their teams this year.  A similar number (45 percent) say that they will enhance cloud security in 2015, while almost a third (29 percent) predict that they will enhance/implement mobile device security.

Other key findings include:

  • 47 percent of UK CIOs and CTOs will add extra IT security personnel to their teams in 2015 as companies spend a fifth of their IT budget on security
  • Enhancement of cloud security is second most popular measure predicted by 45% of CIOs
  • More than three quarters (78 percent) are concerned by security threats associated with running an open plan office
  • However, only a quarter (25 percent) say they will enhance employee training on IT security issues

In earlier research, Robert Half identified that security is a key imperative driving growth in demand for skilled IT professionals. The majority (93 percent) of CIOs indicated that the number of security threats detected by their firms has either increased or stayed the same in in the past year.  As a result, an average of nearly one fifth (19 percent) of a company’s IT budget is being allocated to security.

The findings echo the latest predictions from IT industry analyst Gartner, which indicate spending on IT globally is set to reach $3.8 trillion in 2015. Data centre investment is being driven by an increased demand for cloud-based services and will take a $143 billion share of that overall investment, hence the need for increased cloud security.

Meanwhile, adoption of more flexible working patterns is driving widespread uptake of mobile technologies, creating potential security risks as companies seek to allow employees to access corporate systems and data from any location.

On-site security is another major concern highlighted by Robert Half’s latest research. 78 percent of CIOs are concerned about the potential security threats involved in running an open plan office, with the biggest threat (cited by 49 percent of CIOs) perceived to be caused by employees or third parties overhearing sensitive information. The second biggest threat (37 percent) is seen as visual security or employees or third parties viewing sensitive information.

Despite this trend, just 25 percent of companies plan to enhance employee training in IT security issues and only seven percent will introduce more stringent vetting of firms that have access to their data.

As a result, the measures businesses are taking to  protect companies’, customers’ or employees’ personal information span a wide range from anti-virus software (72 percent), password generator or management systems (48 percent), network security systems such as firewalls (44 percent), multi-factor authentication services (38 percent) and hard drive encryption (31 percent).

“The demand for skilled IT security professionals is on the rise as businesses of all sizes are recognising the importance of IT security and are conscious they need to strive to continuously meet best practice standards or risk being vulnerable to an IT security threat,” says Neil Owen, a director at Robert Half Technology

“Increased investment in cloud and mobile security by organisations is following hard on the heels of greater take-up of those technology platforms, so IT security professionals with these specialist skills and experience will be most in demand.  However, it will also be important to have broad experience of overall security measures and how to protect corporate, customer and personal data, taking account of internal threats as well external risks.

“IT security professionals with the right combination of skills and experience will be in high demand for the foreseeable future, which means it will be important for businesses to provide attractive remuneration packages along with an innovative, technically challenging environment in order to attract the best candidates.”