IBM Exposes IT Security Skills Gap

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If you're looking for a reason why your organization hasn't adopted the cloud, mobile or social business technologies, you likely need to look no further than security. According to a new 2012 trends report from IBM, security tops the list of reasons why many organizations aren't yet adopting new leading edge technologies.

For the cloud, 56 percent of IBM's survey respondents identified security as the top barrier. The number rises for mobile, with 61 percent tapping security as a key hurdle. Enterprises seem to feel a bit more comfortable with social business technologies, with 47 percent reporting security as a barrier to adoption.

Security Skills Lacking

Why do so many organizations have security fears? It all comes down to skills.

Barely 10 percent of survey respondents report having people with the required IT skills for cloud, mobile and social business in their organizations today.

"We knew going in that security was going to be something that was top of mind," says Dan Hauenstein, manager of Academic Initiative Strategy, IBM Software Group. "How consistently and strongly security ranked as a barrier to adoption was, however, a bit surprising."

In IBM's view, training is the best solution to this security skills shortage.

"It has become quite clear that our educational institutions are not preparing our students for some types of IT careers," Hauenstein says. "These are areas that are not easy to keep up with, given the rate of innovation that is going on, so I certainly don't blame them."

To help narrow the skills gaps, IBM is advancing its efforts to help academic institutions by providing software and training resources. The IBM Academic Initiative will now offer a pre-packaged curriculum of real-world security technology scenarios.

Security Certifications

Research done by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2) in 2011 seems to bear out the idea of a security skills gap, indicating there will be a shortage of 2 million IT security professionals by 2015.The ISC2 is among entities offering IT certifications that aim to deliver security education, with its popular Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) designation.

IBM does its own certifications, Hauenstein notes, but he was unable to comment specifically on how they might relate to the CISSP.

"We're not pushing through certification just for the joy of certification," he says. "We want to make sure we're doing things that are really aligning with what people are hiring for. We want to align with the kinds of certifications that matter to employers."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.