UK’s booming cyber security sector worth £8.3bn

The UK’s cyber security industry is now worth an estimated £8.3 billion, with total revenues in the sector up 46 per cent from £5.7 billion in 2017.

The sector has seen significant growth in annual revenue and employment, as well as considerable investment in early-stage companies. The findings from the report show:

  • The number of active cyber security firms in the UK has increased 44 per cent – up from 846 in 2017 to over 1,200 at year-end 2019. This growth is the equivalent to a new cyber security business being set up in the UK every week
  • There are now approximately 43,000 full time employees working in the cyber security sector, up 37 per cent from 2017
  • Total revenues within the sector have increased by 46 per cent to an estimated £8.3 billion. On average, revenue per employee reached £193,500 – an increase of 7 per cent since 2017
  • 2019 was a record year for the sector with more than £348 million of investment
  • Over the last four years (2016-19), total investment identified within the cyber security sector has exceeded £1.1 billion, demonstrating how confidence has grown in the industry

The UK Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2020 named Darktrace as one of the most successful UK cyber security companies, which is one of the country’s 77 tech ‘unicorns’ – a company valued at over $1 billion. Darktrace has its global head office in Cambridge as well as a US base in San Francisco and 44 offices around the world employing over 1,000 people.

Ahead of his speech at international cyber security conference SINET, Digital Minister Matt Warman said:

“It’s great to see our cyber security sector going from strength to strength. It plays a vital role in protecting the country’s thriving digital economy and keeping people safe online.

“We are committed to seeing it grow and are investing £1.9bn over five years through our National Cyber Security Strategy to make sure we lead the way in cyber innovation, develop and attract the best talent.”

Alongside GDPR industry adoption, this growth has been driven by a number of factors such as the UK’s world-leading technology sector, pro-innovation regulation, research and business-friendly environment.

Industry support from the private and public sectors has also played a key role in this success. The Government is delivering a range of initiatives to boost growth in the cyber security sector. These include Cyber ASAP which supports academics to commercialise their research, Tech Nation Cyber which is the UK’s first cyber scale-up programme and supports companies poised for substantial growth at home and abroad, and our Cyber101 programme which delivers bootcamps around the country to help cyber SMEs develop essential business skills.

The report also highlights the growing diversification of the UK cyber sector with the growth of emerging security sub-sectors focusing on areas such as the Internet of Things, centralised systems that control and monitor infrastructure or facility-based processes, and post-quantum cryptography.

NCSC Director National Resilience & Strategy Clare Gardiner said: “Our ambition is to make the UK the safest place to live and work online and it’s fantastic to see our cyber security industry flourishing.

“The NCSC will continue to support, encourage and facilitate cyber security research and innovation, and help attract the most diverse minds.”

Tech Nation Entrepreneur Success Director Mike Jackson said:“These latest figures released by DCMS highlight the growing strength of Cyber Security to the UK tech sector. It’s promising to see the number of cyber security firms increasing by 44% and the positive contribution this makes to the UK economy. At Tech Nation, we have the privilege of working with some of the UK’s most promising Cyber Security scaleups, who are utilising bleeding-edge technologies to offer new ways of improving security, and protecting businesses and individuals online.”

Darktrace CEO Poppy Gustafsson said: “The immense growth of the cyber security industry in recent years reflects the magnitude of the cyber challenge confronting organisations of every kind in modern society. Organisations have had no choice but to lean on AI that fights back on their behalf in the face of fast and sophisticated threats, and it is this appetite for what we call ‘autonomous response’ technology that has driven Darktrace’s exponential growth. As we start to see the early signs of attackers using AI, defensive AI will be critical, and not just a nice-to-have. The best algorithms will win many battles, but the cyber war will rage on.”

The UK Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2020 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cyber-security-sectoral-analysis-2020 

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