The ‘Year of the Information Security Professional’

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With the backing of major firms like Microsoft, Ernst & Young and Deloitte, the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2 recently announced the launch of the “Year of the Information Security Professional” initiative for the coming year. The program, which will include learning events, mentoring, scholarships and other offerings, was conceived to promote the IT security profession around the world.

A recent study conducted by (ISC)2 and global industry analyst firm IDC predicted that the number of information security professionals would swell to 2.1 million by 2008 from the current total of approximately 1.3 million workers. “The need for information security talent is going to grow exponentially in the next couple of years,” said Sarah Bohne, director of corporate communications at (ISC)2. “Businesses are getting accustomed to thinking about security.”


The “Year of the Information Security Professional” initiative is aimed at providing education to companies, IT professionals and the general public through both organizational and individual efforts. “The interest is to promote the profession in general and to help raise the visibility of information security as a profession, as well as help individual information security professionals advance their careers,” said James Wade, CISSP, past president and board member of (ISC)2 and the former chief security officer of the Federal Reserve Board. “Just to get an announcement and news releases out is not enough. We’re seeking to involve all of our CISSPs through grassroots efforts to provide information in their organizations about what information security and the profession is all about, so they can gain an appreciation for the work that they do.”


“There are a lot of people who don’t have an appreciation for what it takes to keep their organization or their home network secure,” Bohne said. “There are several things we have toyed around with to elevate the status of this profession and get people to start thinking about how important it is to support these people in securing the Internet—the way police officers keep our streets safe and doctors keep us healthy.”


Many organizations have welcomed the opportunity to participate in the program and raise awareness about the significance of IT security and the individuals involved with it. “As an industry leader, Microsoft is in a unique position to help customers address the security issues the industry faces,” said Steve Lipner, director of security engineering strategy at Microsoft. “Just as customers depend on Microsoft to improve security through innovation, prescriptive guidance and tools and industry leadership, we depend on qualified information security professionals in helping to tackle the industry-wide challenge of security. Information security professionals play a critical role not only in protecting their own organizations from increasingly malicious attacks, but the entire ecosystem at large by extension. It’s our hope that by helping to highlight the importance and the need for these professionals, organizations will continue to invest in their security staff by providing the training and resources they need to successfully protect their networks.”


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