2020 Ponemon Survey Report: Staffing the IT Security Function in the Age of Automation

Ponemon Institute conducted the third annual study “Staffing the IT Security Function in the Age of Automation: A Study of Organizations in the United States and United Kingdom” to better understand how organizations are addressing the problem of attracting and retaining IT security practitioners and how the adoption of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will impact IT security. More than 1,000 IT and IT security practitioners who participate in attracting, hiring, promoting and retaining IT security personnel within their companies were surveyed. Ponemon Institute conducted a similar study in 2013, 2018, and 2019. Whenever possible, this report will show research findings from the previous study.

While the lack of in-house IT security expertise continues to be a problem, the key takeaway in this year’s study is that the majority of respondents (51 percent) now believe that automation will decrease headcount in the IT security function, an increase from 30 percent in last year’s study. Further, more respondents believe they will lose their jobs in an average of four years, an increase from 28 percent of respondents to 37 percent of respondents since last year. Possible reasons for these perceptions are that automation, according to the findings, can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the IT security staff so in the future fewer will need to be hired.

Below are a few key takeaways from this research:

  • Automation will improve productivity but the human factor is still important. Seventy-four percent of respondents say automation is not capable of performing certain tasks that the IT security staff can do and 54 percent of respondents say automation will never replace human intuition and hands-on experience.
  • Barriers to investing in automation continue to be the lack of in-house expertise (53 percent of respondents) and a heavy reliance on legacy IT environments.
  • Automation increases the productivity of current security personnel (43 percent of respondents) and reduces the false positive and/or false negative rates (43 percent of respondents). Sixty percent of respondents say automation is helping to reduce the stress of their organization’s IT security personnel.

    Please complete the form below to access this research:

    Business E-mail Address

    First Name

    Last Name


    Job Role

    Job Function

    Company Size




    Zip / Postal Code


    Business Phone Number

    Your privacy is a top concern for us at Knowledge Hub Media. We’ll only use your personal information to provide you with the content, products and/or services you’ve requested from us. By entering your contact information and clicking on the “submit” button below, you are confirming that you have carefully read Knowledge Hub Media’s Terms of Use agreement, and Privacy Policy, and agree to be legally bound by all such terms.

    Yes, I agree to the Terms of Use Agreement.

    Yes, I agree to the Privacy Policy.

    The third party vendor sponsoring this content may wish to contact you regarding products and/or services as they relate to this white paper/research. Please check the appropriate boxes below, indicating the ways in which you would like to receive communication from our third party affiliates:

    Yes, I would like to receive communication by email.Yes, I would like to receive communication by telephone.Yes, I would like to receive communication by postal mail.

    Knowledge Hub Media would also like to keep in touch regarding related content, white papers, business/technology research and upcoming events in your area of expertise. Please check the appropriate boxes below to opt-in:

    Yes, Knowledge Hub Media may contact me via email.Yes, Knowledge Hub Media may contact me via telephone.Yes, Knowledge Hub Media may contact me via postal mail.

    You can easily change your communication and consent preferences at any time. Opt-out of receiving communication from Knowledge Hub Media and/or our third party affiliates by easily updating your personally identifiable data and contact preferences here: Update Communication Preferences

    Comments are closed.