The rapidly changing IT security threat landscape is making it impossible for even large user companies to keep skills up to date, Kimmi Alkio, chief executive at security supplier F-Secure said last week.
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He said large firms were buying more of their security products from service providers as CIOs struggle with a lack of in-house skills.
"More and more large organisations are buying their security products from service providers because of a skills shortage," Alkio said. "IT directors are having real challenges finding competent staff with a high degree of technical knowledge."
He said IT directors often turned to a partner in the form of an ISP or integrator for a security service.
Nick Garlick, managing director at security integrator Nebulas Security, confirmed that demand for security consultants was increasing. "This year we have had more consultants on site with customers than ever before," he said.
Garlick said security consultants needed to be highly skilled in a wide range of areas, such as content, data and network security practices.
With demand coming from in-house IT departments as well as outsourcing suppliers, careers in IT security can be lucrative, said Richard Swann, infrastructure manager at the Institute of Directors. "This is because people with all the skills are few and far between," he said.
Stuart Okin, UK security practice lead at Accenture, said, "We are seeing a massive demand for information security services and therefore a demand for the right people who can help companies and governments decrease risk, reduce costs, improve productivity and increase availability."