5 Fast Facts About The Dire State Of Security Talent

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Security experts agree that they're facing a huge challenge when it comes to finding talented security professionals. An April Frost & Sullivan 2015 (ISC)2 Global Information Security Workforce Study outlined the problem, pinpointing the security talent gap at more than a million jobs – meaning there are more than a million unfilled security positions out there today -- and describing the dire effects that could have on the market. While the scale of the findings was a bit shocking, the report said there might be some bright spots for channel businesses able to position themselves to take advantage.

Here, five facts and stats you should know.

1.5 Million Jobs

Frost & Sullivan estimated that the gap in the security workforce will be around 1.5 million jobs by 2020. That number was determined by calculating the difference between the projected workforce needed and how many talented individuals will be available. That gap comes as companies look to bolster their security staff, with 195,000 information security professionals in 2015, up 6 percent from last year.

Demand Is Going Up

Part of what's driving up that gap is the increase of security requirements across a growing range of emerging technologies, such as mobile, cloud and the Internet of Things, the survey found. In addition to simply needing more security professionals, the survey said companies also need candidates with more qualifications and certifications than in the past to handle the broader security footprint. While most companies, upward of two-thirds of respondents, are compensating for this gap with more automated technologies, Frost & Sullivan cautioned that too much "security sprawl" could hurt effectiveness in the long term.

The Gap Exists Today

While the projected gap down the road is significant, Frost & Sullivan said the security talent situation today already is a challenge for companies, with 62 percent of respondents saying they didn't have enough security talent. That is up from 56 percent in 2013. While in the past that demand has been attributed to a lack of funding for security professionals, Frost & Sullivan said it sees security budgets going up in response to an increased threat landscape, so it attributes the shortfall to an "insufficient pool of suitable candidates."

Salaries On The Rise

As a result of the shortage, salaries for security professionals have reached their highest point, the survey found. The average annual salary for security professionals in 2015 was $97,778. (ICS)2 members did even better in 2015, raking in an average $103,117, up 2.1 percent over the year before. The average tenure for a security professional also stabilized at 13.4 years, which the survey attributed in part to higher salaries.

More Companies Turning To Managed Services

One bright spot for the channel is that Frost & Sullivan predicted the overall security talent shortage would drive more companies to invest in managed services to augment their IT capabilities. In particular, the survey said it expects more demand for cloud-based security services, which alleviates some of the pressure on in-house security professionals. However, Frost & Sullivan cautioned that managed services won't be able to completely solve the security talent challenges for most companies.