Most of you should by now have received our annual Readership Survey email, and I hope you will manage to find a few minutes to complete it.
This is the fourth year of the survey, and it has proved an extremely accurate barometer of trends in our industry. Based on the honest replies of real professionals in the field, the survey has been able to pinpoint the areas that are causing pain and concern for organisations around the world, and how those concerns have shifted over the past three years.
We ask deliberately open questions, allowing readers to answer in any way they choose. For instance, our first question is always: "What has been your biggest concern during the past year?" Some responses are short and to the point, while others seem to expose deep-seated frustrations – with senior management, with vendors, or with poorly performing technology.
In the first survey we ran in 2002, the biggest problem appeared to be a lack of budget – or senior directors failing to see the point of IT security, which is basically the same thing. By last year, budgets had dropped off the radar for most people, thanks to management realising the need to comply with new regulations.
Concerns such as spam had gone away, while spyware and phishing attacks were starting to worry a lot of big companies.
We're expecting that trend to continue this year, as external threats increase and IT security rises up the corporate agenda. We hear anecdotal evidence that many big companies have completely reorganised their security over the past 12 to 18 months, and that security professionals now wield much greater clout in corporate decision-making. It will be good to see that confirmed (or indeed contradicted) by your responses. So if you have not yet responded, please do. You can even answer anonymously, if you prefer. Send responses to email@example.com, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to see the full survey form again.
I'd also like to remind you that the annual SC Conference takes place in London later this month, on 17 and 18 November. We have put together an impressive list of speakers, and we'll be focusing on the twin concerns of identity management and corporate compliance. Go to www.scconference.com for more details.
Finally, I'd like to alert you to a charity event being planned for 27 January in support of ChildLine. SC Magazine has joined forces with some senior people in the IT security industry to organise the White Hat Charity Ball, which will take place at the Hilton Waldorf Hotel. It should be a great night, with good food, music and an exciting charity auction. Tickets cost £85 each.
Places are limited, so email email@example.com for details and to make reservations.
Ron Condon is editor-in-chief of SC Magazine