"We're lacking in personnel with skills," admits headhunter David Musgrove of International Search Partners () of La Mesa, Calif. "We haven't been training, nor do we have any experienced security analysts available."
The need for security shows no signs of abating.
There were 34,754 attacks on U.S. Internet sites during the first three quarters of this year, reports the Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (). The total for all of 2000 was 21,756.
The federally funded center at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh tracks Internet security vulnerability.
IT managers with security skills can earn more than $100,000 annually, headhunters say.
The softening economy has helped temper job demand, says Jeff Urbanski, an automotive headhunter with Information Systems Executive Search () in Birmingham, Mich.
"People are not changing jobs or jumping ship," he says. "They're more concerned about job security."
Still, companies can't rely on current staffing positions, says Musgrove. And if they don't already have them, companies need full-time security personnel.
"Internet security is a threat," Musgrove says. "Companies are losing billions because of security breaches, and Sept. 11 just brought that to the forefront."
Musgrove says companies are especially concerned with protecting proprietary, client and account information.
He adds, "There are people who are knowledgeable, but they have to know not only how to protect networks, but how to insulate intellectual properties from intrusion."