‘One third of employees will move jobs if they can’t work flexibly on mobile devices’. ‘Mobile security is the single most dangerous threat to organisations in the foreseeable future’: these are the findings of two pieces of research, suggesting that the IT professional must learn a new set of priorities and skills.
Check out the tech and management skills for the ‘anytime, anywhere’ era.
The growth of flexible working means IT workers increasingly relied upon to secure mission-critical data and the devices that host it, whatever the location. Mobile devices rank second on the list of highest concerns of information security professionals, reports the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC).
More flexible working in the workplace means IT professionals’ time is sucked up by office politics (46%) and compliance (45%), according to a report titled ’Global Information Security Workforce Survey (GISW), 2011. This compares to the time actually implementing technologies (39%) and certifying new systems (35%).
Be a policy-maker
The move to flexible working means IT pros have to get savvy at negotiating policies for use of mobile devices. Nearly seven out of 10 GISWS respondents worldwide in reported having a formal policy for mobile devices. “Work closely with the HR department to tweak existing IT policies”, advises of Campbell McLundie, business technology and consulting partner at Scott-Moncrieff. That way, you won’t be the fall-guy when data goes missing.
Increase in use of devices
Mobile devices have proliferated in the enterprise and are now used for work by a quarter of the workforce in over two thirds of organisations. Europe has the highest saturation of mobile device usage by employees. Frost & Sullivan believes the next several years could show severe gaps in skill sets industry-wide. Information security professionals are stretched thin.
Greater variety of devices
Organisations of all sizes no longer dish out one, vanilla flavoured device to all. Instead, some are opting for a BMO – buy my own – policy allowing staff to choose their favourite mobile device, whether BlackBerry, i-Phone or Samsung, and asking IT staff to support the tutti-frutti mix. This calls for broad tech knowledge, plus an awareness of legal implications of looking at data held on e staff-owned devices, says John Colley, managing director of (ISC)2.
Technologies to the rescue
Information security professionals are deploying a wide variety of technologies to protect mobile devices. Encryption, Network Access Control (NAC), mobile VPNs, and remote lock-and-wipe functionality are the most popular technologies deployed within organisations, the GISWS found.
Fresh demand for IT pros
Frost & Sullivan estimates the number of information security professionals worldwide in 2010 to have been 2.28 million. This figure is expected to increase to almost 4.24 million by 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2 % t from 2010 to 2015.
Roles to the fore
Roles needed to support flexible working in the workforce include:
• Network architect jobs
• Systems administrator jobs
• Security auditor jobs
• Security systems engineer jobs
• IT director/manager jobs
• Security manager jobs
• Security analyst jobs
• Security consultant jobs
Enter the data manager
Brand new roles are emerging, too, that deal with the tech and governance aspects of flexible working. Most significant is the data manager specialist, who is the equivalent of Health & Safety in the flexible working world. He or she ensures that data ownership is not the responsibility of all individuals in the organisation. The role is growing as Information Commissioners use their teeth, and is more common in the public sector given the Freedom of Information Act.
New skills repertoire
On top of this, the functional scope of the information professionals is evolving fast with the advance of flexible working. One new focus is involvement in software development. Worldwide, 22 percent of GISWS respondents said they were involved in some aspect of the software development.
More individuals working in information security have at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Worldwide, 48 percent of information security professionals have a bachelor’s degree, Europe and the Middle East have the highest number of professionals who hold doctorate degrees,
Global Information Security Workforce Survey
The Mobile Workforce Report
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