The Buzz - 15

Shiny, happy IT people.

EMPLOYMENT

Shiny, happy IT people

Technology workers are feeling pretty good about themselves these days. After a decline in confidence in February, IT folks are feeling downright spunky, according to Rasmussen Reports Hudson Employment Index.

How confident are IT workers? The Hudson Employment Index, which is built from surveys of 9,000 workers, climbed 10 points to 115 from February to March. A year ago, the Hudson Index checked in at 111.8.

Among other March factoids:

• Only 8 percent of IT workers rated their finances as poor, the lowest amount in almost a year.

• Thirty-five percent of the IT work force expected their companies to hire more, up from 33 percent in February.

• Just 22 percent of IT employees were worried about their job security in March. In February, 28 percent were concerned about their job status.

SECURITY

The real reason security spending rises

Merrill Lynch interviewed 50 chief information security officers and found that they intend to increase security spending an average of 11.4 percent over the next 12 to 18 months. Given the number of security breaches, that figure shouldnt be surprising, but what is notable are the reasons executives give for boosting spending.

Sixty-eight percent said regulatory compliance is the biggest factor driving the need for security. Protecting against unauthorized access by outsiders got 54 percent, followed by unauthorized insider access at 48 percent. Protecting the company brand was cited by 30 percent, and the need to protect intellectual property and prevent financial losses got 24 percent.

According to Merrill Lynch, "regulatory drivers compel otherwise reluctant spending because of the requirements of compliance, as well as strong spending from the most regulated industries such as financial, government and health care."

Connecting the dots, regulatory prodding is what gets companies to invest in security, not concerns about bad press. "The low ranking of protection from financial losses or theft is surprising, given a perhaps disproportionate amount of media focus," concluded Merrill Lynch in its report.

Among other security tidbits:

• Sixty-six percent said that the Symantec-Veritas merger will be a good move.

• Eighty-four percent said Microsoft will become more strategic to corporate IT security, followed by Symantec (80 percent) and Cisco (78 percent).

• Sixty-four percent said CA will become less strategic to their companys IT security.

• Eighty-four percent said the most important characteristic of an anti-virus vendor is quick responses with patches.

• Forty-eight percent said they will switch to Microsoft anti-virus software if it proves effective over time; 20 percent said they will never use Microsoft anti-virus software.

BLOGWATCH

Will Google ditch anti-portal attitude?

GOOGLE HAS BEEN DABBLING IN real estate listings via its Google Base, but will the Internet darling abandon its anti-portal attitude? Eventually itll have to, as it quietly expands into finance and real estate, argues Henry Blodget on his blog, Internet Outsider (www.internetoutsider.com).

"The bottom line is that, in real estate, as in many other categories (including finance), Google has demonstrated that it has the right stuff necessary to take on and beat incumbents. It is doubtful, however, that it has enough right stuff to beat incumbents while pretending that this is the last thing it wants to do.

"Both Google Finance and Google Real Estate would benefit from having an easy-to-find, easy-to-use section welcome page, like those found on Yahoo Finance. Both would benefit from having links on Googles front page. Adding sections and links, of course, would force Google to publicly abandon the already ludicrous claim that it has no interest in becoming a portal. But it would be better for users and shareholders alike."