Cybersecurity fastest growing start-up sector during COVID-19

  • Funding has increased by 940% for UK cybersecurity start-ups since the beginning of lockdown, with £496m being raised in the first half of 2020.

    This almost outstrips the 2019 total of £521m financing the sector’s start-ups received.

    The findings come from a new report by global recruiter Robert Walters and data provider VacancySoft. Their research claims that business spending on cybersecurity will double to £136bn before the end of this year.

    Darius Goodarzi, principal of IT Risk at Robert Walters commented: “For years the UK has been building its reputation as a beacon of innovation and investment in cybersecurity. This year in particular cybersecurity start-ups have risen to become business heroes - from tools that alert users to security vulnerabilities, to those that spot fraudulent activity — these news firms and tools have taken an important role in protecting our ‘new world.”

    RELATED: Belfast cybersecurity company hiring five new roles

    According to the government’s Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2020, there are 1,221 firms active within the UK providing cybersecurity products and services.

    This has increased by 44% in the last two years – indicating that a new cybersecurity business is registered every week within the UK.

    Of this, 90% of the sector consists of SMEs (small-to-medium enterprises) - with an associated estimated turnover of £2bn (24% of the sector’s revenues).

    Ajay Hayre, senior tech consultant at Robert Walters commented: “Historically IT security has represented only 5% of a company’s IT budget but due to remote working and transition to online or cloud-based solutions, cybersecurity has been thrust to the centre of business continuity plans – having proved its worth in enabling business objectives during lockdown.”

    Demand for Consultancies

    48% of UK companies have stated that they do not have adequate cybersecurity to enable long term remote working, and a further 70% across Europe admitted they do not have a sufficient cybersecurity team in general.

    Therefore, the Robert Walters team said the race is on to hire talent in this area – with job vacancies growing by 6% in the UK for the first half of this year.

    However, with a talent shortage across the continent of 140,000, companies are being left with no choice but to turn to cybersecurity consultancies.

    RELATED: Belfast start-up Angoka set to transform the security of IoT communication

    These consultancies are one of the fastest growing start-ups in the UK - now at 1,000 companies with the average number of employees being just 10.

    Adam Casey is managing director at one of these consultancies, i3Secure. He said: “The pace at which companies are having to undergo digital transformation means security projects will be rife, add to that a period of ‘rationalisation’ – where firms will need to check whether what they fitted ‘overnight’ is totally secure and fit for purpose.

    “As a result, one of the main drives for cyber security over the next 12 months will be to amend and create sustainable and secure systems.

    “With this, a trend we expect to manifest is an increase in ‘Cyber Audits’ performed by specialist external providers, as a way of helping companies test their resilience and identify vulnerabilities.

    “Companies are increasingly out-sourcing projects to these new & exciting firms promising efficient project delivery, in place of hiring a CISO and in-house team at a significant cost to the company.”

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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