Illena Armstrong, VP, editorial, SC Magazine
Illena Armstrong, VP, editorial, SC Magazine

With people out of work, insider threats spike and budgets often plummett, says Illena Armstrong.

Apparently, many folks and I failed to pick up on what the pundits said when they informed us all a few months ago that the long-suffering economy was on the mend. Indeed, the Great Recession seems to have more stamina than the Energizer Bunny and, while some positive indicators show that many companies are seeing improvements, confidence in the soundness of the market is, at best, mixed.

Nearly 15 million Americans are out of work, according to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics. Further, about 6.2 million people have been jobless for six months or more – reportedly, the highest number since the Great Depression. And, the overall jobless rate is remaining stagnant at 9.6 percent, which is surpassed as the worst unemployment rate only by the early 1980s recession at 10.8 percent. Accounting for the percentages, we haven't seen a recession like this since WWII, according to recent reports.

Meanwhile, some other saddening numbers are on the rise – slowly. For instance, companies reportedly added about 151,000 jobs in the last three months or so. Also, consumers have been spending a little more over the last several months compared to the summer. Still, for those of us who like to cling to a little optimism, especially during the holidays, these slight jumps in some economic indicators do little to help us out of the funk in which the Great Recession has most of us stewing (and for good reason, I should add).

Just as last year, I'm ready to see 2010 hit the road. Still, I have to acknowledge that despite the still torturous economic situation, SC Magazine has had a pretty good year. First off, we took the American Society of Business Publication Editors' (ASBPE) 2010 Magazine of the Year Award. Second, we had a record year creating a slew of sound editorial products – from special editions to live events. On top of that, we're set to close out 2010 with two bustling events – our third annual SC World Congress in NYC and the first SC Congress Canada in Toronto. Both conferences had thought-leading experts leading various sessions and keynotes, top vendors and service providers showcasing their wares, and more information security pros attending than ever before or expected.

Perhaps the positive experiences we've had are a direct result of the negative economy. After all, with people out of work, cybercrime rises, insider threats spike and budgets often plummet – which all push CISOs to find more creative ways to protect critical data. But, that's not to say that these happily, serendipitous moments SC Magazine has had over this year have only arrived due to a cruddy economy. More than ever before, securing sensitive data is a top priority for not only the average Fortune 500 company, but also for the likes of my grandmother.

The Great Recession still is beating its drum, but, at some point, it has to lose some power. Strides like that which we have made at SC Magazine help contribute to similar positive steps other companies across a variety of marketplaces are taking. Here's hoping that all those encouraging trajectories keep going and going and going… well into the New Year.