From today’s RSA 2009, San Francisco -- More than 70 percent of 1,500 U.S.-based information security professionals responding to a survey say their budgets were reduced the past six months due to the economic downturn, while 55 percent said they did not expect any additional cuts for the remainder of the year.

The Web-based survey was sent to members of (ISC)2 (“ISC-squared”), the world’s largest organization of information security professionals and the not-for-profit global leader in educating and certifying information security professionals throughout their careers. (ISC)2 is keeping the survey open to its members through May 15 when final results will be disclosed.

Mirroring the security budget responses, more than 70 percent of survey respondents believe the economic downturn has had a somewhat or significant impact on their purchases of security equipment and technology; however, 53 percent said spending would not decrease for the remainder of 2009. 

On the personnel side, roughly half of survey respondents said their information security departments had experienced at least one lay-off in the past few months. Fifty-five percent said no additional personnel cuts would be forthcoming the remainder of the year.

Of the nearly third of respondents who identified themselves as having hiring responsibilities, 44 percent said they were looking to hire additional information security staff this year. The areas of expertise most sought after by those seeking candidates were information risk management, operations security, certification and accreditation, security management practices, and security architecture and models.