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March 2010

Creating meaningful information security metrics

Security budgets have proven to be more resistant to the recession than many areas of IT, but they haven't been completely recession-proof. Security spending, which rose like a rocket ship with double-digit increases from 2002 through 2007, started to sputter about two years ago. Organizations report that discretionary security projects have been delayed or "sent back to the lab" for further evaluation. For 2010, Forrester Research expects that overall security budgets will rise less than 5 percent over 2009 --higher than in the previous year, but not by much. The reluctance to increase security budgets places increased pressure on security managers to justify their projects. Security, sadly, is one of those professions where victories are taken for granted and go unnoticed, but failures are embarrassingly public. To the untrained eye, security staff, technologies and processes cost a lot of money but produce little tangible output on a day-to-day basis, other than a vaguely satisfied feeling that "nothing bad happened" today. ...

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