The global shortage of information security professionals is having a profound impact on the economy and is driven by a combination of business conditions, executives not fully understanding the need for security and an inability to locate enough qualified information security professionals, according to the sixth Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS), produced by (ISC)2, Booz Allen Hamilton and Frost & Sullivan.

The study surveyed more than 12,000 information security professionals worldwide.

The report finds that hactivism (43 percent), cyber-terrorism (44 percent) and hacking (56 percent) are among the top concerns identified by respondents. However, more than half (56 percent) feel their security organizations are short-staffed, a press release reports.

Fifteen percent of organizations surveyed are not able to put a timeframe on their ability to recover from an attack, even though service downtime is one of the highest priorities for nearly three-quarters of respondents.

The report concludes that the major shortage of skilled cyber security professionals is negatively impacting organizations and their customers, leading to more frequent and costly data breaches.

The GISWS finds that the major shortage of software development professionals trained in security – as well as application security vulnerabilities – still rank highest among security concerns, similarly to the findings in the 2011 GISWS. Threats from malware and mobile devices still top the list, and cloud security, BYOD trends and social networking are all reported as major concerns in terms of newer security threats looming on the horizon.