A recent ISC2 Foundation survey of some 12,000 information security professionals worldwide found that a shortage of talent has had a dramatic impact on the ability of organizations to defend against or recover from a cyber attack.
"[The shortage] is causing a strain on the existing workforce," Peeler said. "They are having to work harder and longer hours."
More than half of the respondents to the ISC2 survey said the shortage is the ability of their organizations to defend against cyber threats, she said.
The growing shortage has meant better salaries for information security professionals compared to many other IT jobs. According to Burning Glass, cyber security jobs on average offer a premium of about $12,000 over the the average for all computer jobs -- the advertised salary for cyber security jobs in 2012 was $100,733 versus $89,205 for all computer jobs.
People with security certifications appeared to be getting a modestly higher salary, the Burning Glass report found. In many cases, companies appear to require security certification as a way to filter experienced candidates from the non-experienced ones, Sigelman noted.
"Demand is high, but demand in and of itself does not create opportunity" for everyone, cautioned Roger Cressey senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton.
While it is true that employers are looking for more information security professionals than ever, they only want workers with long experience in areas like network security governance, policies and procedures. "You got to have the right skills set" Cressey said.
He noted that U.S. universities today are not training enough people to deal with the explosive growth in demand for IT security specialists.
Pete Lindstrom, an analyst with Spire Security cautioned against "irrational exuberance" on the IT security job market. "The need for security professionals should not be a cause for celebration. I worry that it is more emotional reaction than warranted pragmatism," he said.
Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan, or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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