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IT security appliance market momentum slows

The cybersecurity field has been somewhat protected against poor economic conditions due to a shortage of skilled professionals. This has led to strong growth in software and appliances designed to identify and mitigate computer security threats. IDC recently noted that worldwide factory revenue grew 5.7 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2012. However, this represents a decline in YOY growth when compared to last year's second quarter.

"Overall, macroeconomic conditions have been questionable at best," said John Grady, research manager of security products at IDC. "While the security market remains more resilient than others, there was a definite slow-down in growth rates in the third quarter. That being said, the evolving threat landscape continues to drive spending on security products as organizations battle to keep their infrastructures secure and their data protected."

The unified threat management portion of the market saw the highest level of growth, accounting for 33.3 percent of total security appliance revenue. Ebenezer Obeng-Nyarkoh, senior research analyst for IDC's Worldwide Trackers Group, attributed this to increasing demand for greater demand for integrated approaches to IT security.

A "tricky" job market
Numerous experts have noted a high demand for cybersecurity expertise, but there are more challenges facing companies. As TechTarget's George Hulme recently noted, companies also struggle with finding the right talent for the job. Highlighting comments from Lee Kushner, CEO of L.J. Kushner and Associates, he suggested that the issue is further complicated depending on whether a company is focused on security or compliance.

For example, Kushner explained, a company that focuses entirely on compliance may not look for the best talent and technology. This strategy may fulfill compliance mandates, but is limited in effectiveness for creating a more secure IT environment.

"If they want to be secure, rather than compliant, they may be more inclined to do this on a more elevated level, start looking for talent that is more technical, and has a greater understanding of the external threat landscape, as well as more of the preventative and proactive measures to make sure that a successful breach does not happen," Kushner told TechTarget.

On the flip side, IT professionals may need to broaden their skill sets to appeal to employers. A number of job roles have expanded to require diverse expertise as threat verticals evolve. Kushner used the example of the network architect job, which now requires a more thorough understanding of security. Similarly, security teams often deal with numerous interconnected systems as well as compliance requirements.

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