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Securing good security workers

Cyberterrorism and hacking are stoking demand for security specialists, despite a recent flurry of tech pink slips. Symantec's got online tips on how to hang onto the good ones.

Consumer and business security firm Symantec on Thursday will host a Webcast to assist employers in recruiting, training and retaining network security employees, highlighting one of the few bright spots in the information technology job market.

Titled "Growing (and Keeping) a Good Security Staff," the Webcast airs at 7 a.m. PDT, then again at 1 p.m. Registration is required to view the free session.

"Many IT managers who are responsible for setting strategic security decisions and policies need to stretch their security technology investment by growing and keeping good people," said Symantec's Bob Shaffer, who will lead the discussion.

Before the dot-com bubble burst, tech firms in a wide variety of business grappled with hiring top employees, often offering high salaries, large stock-option packages and generous signing bonuses.

For the past two years, however, executives at large and small tech companies have been more concerned with writing severance checks as they shrink their business to match stagnant IT spending.

Security specialists have remained in demand for several reasons: the relatively new threat of cyberterrorism, the constant menace of hacking, and the growing reliance on the Internet as a means of conducting business.

According to a survey of readers earlier this summer by CNET, one-third of some 2,200 respondents picked security as the area where information technology spending would most increase.

In addition, only 2 percent of respondents said that their companies would decrease spending on security-related applications.

Symantec itself has profited from the renewed interest in security. Last month, the company reported first-quarter revenue of $316 million, a 39 percent increase from the same period a year earlier. Earnings topped $56.6 million, or 36 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $21.2 million, or 14 cents per share, for the year-ago period.

Additionally, the company announced that it spent $375 million to acquire three security firms: intrusion detection software maker Recourse Technologies, managed security firm Riptech, and vulnerability information firm SecurityFocus.