Cybersecurity: An Interesting Investment Theme?

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03/30/2018 | 09:39 pm
Sadly, cyber attacks are on the rise. And so is cybersecurity spending. 2017 represents a total of $5 billion worth of damages caused by cyber attacks.

You think this is a lot?

Then brace yourself.

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, this number is expected to be as much as $6 trillion by 2021 - only 3 years from now -  with cybersecurity spending projected at $1 trillion. Cybersecurity Ventures also predicts that an extra 3.5 million cybersecurity workers will be needed to meet the growing demand for online protection.

That’s bad news for our internet safety.

But good news for the cybersecurity industry. 

And the companies in it. 

In today’s article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the companies that are active in this booming sector. First, we start with some interesting stats though.

A recent study called the ‘Cost of Cybercrime Study’ conducted by the Ponemon Institute and jointly developed by Accenture among 254 companies from seven different countries gives us more information about the extent of the cybersecurity issue.

On average:
  • Each company has 130 successful security breaches a year
  • There is a net increase of 27.4% in the annual number of security breaches
  • The annualized cost of cybersecurity per company is $11.7 million
  • The percentage increase in cost of cybersecurity in a year is 22.7%
  • It takes 50 days to resolve a malicious insider attack and 23 to solve a ransomware attack

For those of you that aren't familiar with the jargon: a malicious insider attack is an attack carried out by someone with access to the company’s systems and a ransomware attack is an attack where the hacker holds a system hostage – this means the company can’t access its own systems and files anymore – until an amount of money (the ransom, indeed) has been paid.

Alright, onto the companies that are trying to fight cyber attacks now.

The good guys we could say, right?

On the one hand, there are the seasoned veterans of cybersecurity land, of course. On the other hand, there are the new kids on the block in the form of budding startups. We’ll give you a small sampling of both.

1. IBM Security

With a market capitalization of more than $140 billion, IBM Security is one of the big(er) boys. The company’s main services include security intelligence and analytics, identity and access management, advanced fraud protection and more.

2. Darktrace

London-based startup Darktrace is the first company that successfully built an operational Enterprise Immune System. This gives users the ability to defend against emerging attacks, to detect threats and to respond to them proactively.

3. Mimecast

Mimecast is focused on email and data security and protects organizations from cyber threats such as spear-phishing, malware, data leaks, data loss, and downtime.

4. ThreatInformer

Rather than providing tools that protect against potential cyber attacks, the folks at startup ThreatInformer are concentrating on cyber insurance and build tools that are geared towards the writing and placement of risk. The idea behind this is that cyber insurance will become essential in enhancing cyber defenses in the (very) near future.

5. CyberArk

This company’s unique angle is its focus on threats using insider privileges to attack the organization. CyberArk’s other products and services include enterprise password vault, SSH key manager and privileged threat analytics, among other things.

6. Illumio

Illumio is an American security startup that offers a micro-segmentation technology approach to prevent cyber threats from spreading within the cloud or data centers. And with success, it seems: companies like Morgan Stanley and Salesforce are leveraging Illumio’s offering. 

7. Cisco

Cisco is a worldwide leader in IT and networking. It has a wide range of cybersecurity products and services – one of the company’s fastest-growing segments by the way – varying from malware protection and next-generation firewalls to cloud security and next generation prevention systems. To name just a few.

8. Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto is a relatively new player in the cybersecurity market. According to certain analysts, the company has disrupted the industry.

Its secret weapon?

A firewall that controls how data flows in and around a company’s infrastructure while allowing their customer’s security team to control which applications connect and regulate traffic from other devices.

9. Source Defense

Source Defense is a startup that uses a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform to track third-party activity while on a user’s site and claims to be the first one to offer this kind of proposition.

Time to Invest?

A lot is happening in the world of cybersecurity, that much is clear. And with the number of cyber attacks – and the subsequent need for protection – still on the rise, the industry will keep buzzing with activity.

From established companies looking into new areas of cybersecurity and further developing their existing technology, to budding startups with innovative ideas – such as cyber insurance and a SaaS approach – ready to become the next big thing.

Whether or not the time is right to invest in cybersecurity companies is a question that every investor has to answer for themselves. But the good thing – as far as we can call it a good thing of course – about the rise of cybercrime is that there are bound to be some great investment opportunities to be seized.

2017 Cost of Cybercrime Study

Neelie Verlinden
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