Security professionals focus on cloud computing skills

Information security professionals may be focusing on familiar territory rather than new paradigms when it comes to skilling up for the cloud, suggest early survey results from an (ISC)2 study.

According to the survey, 73 percent of more than 7,500 (ISC)2 certified professionals participating in the survey said that cloud computing requires new skills for security professionals.

When asked what new skills would be required for cloud computing, half of the participants identified contract negotiation skills as one of their top three requirements.

This selection trailed the desire to develop a detailed understanding of cloud computing chosen by 93 percent, as well as the desire for enhanced technical knowledge chosen by 81 percent of participants.

Over half of the members surveyed said their organizations are using cloud computing at some level. 16 percent said their organizations are using public cloud services, and 42 percent identified their use of software as a service (SaaS).

For participants, the exposure of confidential or sensitive information, data loss or leakage is of greatest concern to them, with 85 percent rating this as a top or high concern.

This was followed by significant concern over weak system or application access controls (68 percent), susceptibility to cyber attacks (65 percent) and disruption in availability (62 percent).

“The concern over risks to data suggests that we as a profession recognize the need to master our understanding of how data is used and valued by the business and its customers. This goes beyond understanding the technology and detail of the systems. IT is a tool of the business, and it is the business itself, its processes and the information it uses that must be understood,” says John Colley, CISSP, managing director EMEA, (ISC)2.

Survey participants were also asked whether cloud computing was likely to impact demand for information security professionals.

The results revealed significant optimism, with less than 10 percent believing that cloud would reduce demand and about half believing the trend toward cloud would increase demand for security professionals.

The final report will be released on February 17, 2011.

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