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The Global Cybersecurity Industry's Booming, And There's More Growth in Store

Ever since the beginnings of the desktop computing revolution in the early 1980s, PCs and related hardware have become staples of modern business operations. The advent of the Internet, and later, the IoT, has only accelerated that trend. It's inarguable that the technologies have become indispensable for companies around the world.

At the same time, however, computers and connected technology have become many businesses' greatest source of risk. The data breaches suffered in recent years by companies like Yahoo, Facebook, and Marriott International provide ample evidence of that. Incidents like those are fueling tremendous growth in the cybersecurity industry, creating myriad opportunities for entrepreneurs to launch new ventures.

For an overview of what's going on and the size of the opportunity, here's a look at the global cybersecurity sector and a preview of what's to come within it.

Unprecedented Growth

The global cybersecurity industry has seen growth in recent years on a scale that almost defies belief. In 2004, industry analysts put the total annual value of the industry at $3.5 billion. By 2023, it's expected to be worth $165.2 billion annually. That's an increase of about 4,620% in fewer than 20 years. For perspective, the only global industry that comes close to that growth rate is renewable energy. It, however, is growing out of the need to halt global climate change – cybersecurity, however important, is not.

It's easy to see why. Security researchers estimate that there's a cyber-attack carried out every 39 seconds, on average. When you combine that rate with the sheer number of internet-connected devices in the world, you have a recipe for a big, expensive security undertaking. For the same reasons, the places where the money is going are just as varied.

Opportunities Abound

Right now, the massive increases in cybersecurity spending that are happening across every global industry are going to two places: security services and IT cybersecurity staffing. According to research firm Forrester, security services spending has surpassed product spending across all industries. That trend is expected to continue for many years to come. That's a part of a growing recognition by businesses that outsourcing data security may be the best way to protect themselves and their digital assets.

At the same time, companies are also ramping up spending on IT staffing and training related to their cybersecurity efforts. That spending is spread across multiple parts of the HR spectrum, from specialty technology recruiting firms to financing online courses in cybersecurity for existing IT staff. It's also worth noting that the huge uptick in cybersecurity hiring is creating a global skills shortage in the industry that's worsening by the minute.

What's Next in Cybersecurity

Generally speaking, the overarching trends in the global cybersecurity sector are not likely to change anytime soon. Businesses will still flock to security services to keep themselves safe, and the global cybersecurity skills shortage isn't going to get any better in the near future. The one thing that may change, if anything, is the split between the two main cost drivers.

The growth of AI-based cybersecurity products should soon shift the spending balance further toward the services side of the spectrum. Already, the latest research reflects the shift-in-progress, with some 61% of enterprises reporting that they'd be unable to detect breach attempts without the help of AI. That number will continue to increase and extend downward into the SME arena in the coming years. In the end, shifting some of the work onto AI solutions may be the only way to alleviate the cybersecurity skills shortage that's prevalent in every developed economy.

The Bottom Line

The key takeaway is that there's no limit to the growth opportunities in the global cybersecurity industry. With spending on track to continue a steady increase and obvious demand for both services and talent set to continue, the sky's the limit. It's also important to note that the recent growth projections don't include the expected boom in IoT adoption, which will increase the size, scope, and complexity of the challenges businesses face to keep their data secure. With that factored into the mix, there's no telling how much growth the cybersecurity industry will see. The one thing that's certain, however, is that it will be massive – and provide no shortage of opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs and investors alike.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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