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Shoestring security budgets mean innovation and prioritization

Security managers face a lean economic year in 2009, but that doesn't mean threats and compliance demands will abate.

WHILE WE'RE ALL HAPPY to see 2008 behind us, 2009 could be as challenging as 2008. The new Obama Administration has brought optimism, but businesses have yet to be rewarded with a stable stock market. Intel, for its part, announced layoffs as did Microsoft--the first time in its 30-plus year history. As a result, we are still on shaky, shaky ground.

I think it would be safe to say that everyone is going through the exercise of belt tightening. Where can I cut costs? Do I need to make that purchase, or do I simply want that item? The same holds true for security professionals. Budgets are being scrutinized and return on investment is being demanded. So this month's issue is all about getting by on a shoestring budget and comparing yourself to your peers in terms of priorities for the year.

In our "Under Pressure" article, Features Editor Marcia Savage dissects our annual Information Security Priorities 2009 survey. Data protection and threat management top the list of priorities. Specifically encryption of all sorts is of keen interest to readers. Regulations and industry mandates are fueling the interest. PCI DSS requires encryption and new state laws from Nevada and Massachusetts are forcing organizations to take a more proactive data protection approach.

In our "Troubled Times" story, Editor Michael Mimoso talks to security pros on the challenges of securing an organization in a recession and offers five hints for how to stretch your budget. Meanwhile technical editor David Strom offer 10 tips that can help an organization get the most out of their current threat management infrastructure in order to save dollars and manpower.

Certainly the stakes are raised during tough times. The bad guys see an opening as employees get more frustrated and disgruntled. Add to the mix: new technologies and a new generation entering the workforce that demands 24/7 access. How should you think about Web 2.0/social networking technologies? Bruce Schneier and Marcus Ranum argue the point in their Face-Off column.

While going through a recession is painful, it does give us all a good dose of perspective and appreciation. And hopefully with new regulations on the horizon, security pros will get more dollars and justification for security expenditures for the years to come.

We don't know when this recession will end, but some prognosticate that we are already half-way through it. And if there is a silver lining in all of this mess, it is that this recession will in fact end and we will be stronger and smarter because of it.

Kelley Damore is Editorial Director of Information Security and TechTarget's Security Media Group. Send comments on this column to

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