In 2020, the Government was in a bullish mood about the UK cybersecurity sector. It reported that the number of firms in the sector had increased by 44% over the previous three years, with the sector generating revenues of £8.3bn.
Two years of a global pandemic have done nothing to slow that growth, with the latest figures from the Government now showing revenues exceeding £10bn, with the sector growing by 14% in the last 12 months.
Employment was up by 13% with 6,000 new jobs created, bringing the total number of people working in cybersecurity in the UK to 52,700. The Department for Digital, Culture, Music and Sport reported that the sector contributed £5.3bn to the UK economy in 2021, up by more than a third on the previous year and the largest increase since they started tracking the sector in 2018.
Is this growth likely to continue? The answer appears to be a definite ‘yes’.
The pandemic brought with it a huge increase in online fraud. The conflict in Ukraine has, regrettably, highlighted the importance of cybersecurity even in warfare. Over the past two years, both companies and individuals have become far more aware of the need to stay safe online – and that can only be good news for the sector.
Unsurprisingly, investors have been keen to back the sector. UK-registered firms attracted record levels of external investment last year, with more than £1bn secured by 84 firms. Bristol-based Immersive Labs, a company with an impressive roster of blue-chip clients – led the way, raising £53.5m in funding.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Cybersecurity firms are major contributors to the UK’s incredible tech success story.”
Companies in the UK are specialising in areas like network security and threat monitoring which, according to Ms Dorries, “makes it safer for people to live and work online”.
Almost 300 of the UK’s cybersecurity firms work internationally, with 56% offering products and services in the US, and 46% in Europe. This connection with the US is especially important for the sector, with US-headquartered companies accounting for one in ten UK-based cybersecurity companies.
With all of us being more aware of the risks we can face online – and with the Deputy Prime Minister saying the Russian invasion of Ukraine could last “for months if not years” – the UK cybersecurity sector can only go from strength to strength.