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Cybersecurity businessCybersecurity isn’t all about doom and gloom

By Daniel Prince

Published 12 December 2013

Much is made in the press of the devastating effects that weak cybersecurity is having on the economy in the United Kingdom and globally. The threat is compounded by a significant skills shortage. The U.K. government thinks the problem is so severe that it has identified cybersecurity as a Tier 1 national security threat and invested 860 million pounds to defend the country’s digital shores. What all this means is that there is money to be made from cybersecurity and small businesses should not fear it but embrace it. The business opportunities are boundless in cybersecurity. One area that is promising in this sense is the move towards smart cities. As the infrastructure around us, such as traffic lights and utilities becomes more regularly controlled via computers, market opportunities emerge

Much is made in the press of the devastating effects that weak cybersecurity is having on the economy in the UK and globally. We regularly see news articles about companies having their secrets stolen or their customer records hacked.

The U.K. government thinks the problem is so severe that it has identified cybersecurity as a Tier 1 national security threat and invested £860 million to defend the country’s digital shores.

The recent report completed by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills highlights the dangers posed to businesses in the United Kingdom, especially smaller businesses.

It found that 87 percent of small and medium-sized businesses had suffered a breach in the last year and that the worst incidents cost each business somewhere between £35,000 and £65,000. As a group, small and medium sized businesses suffered an average of 17 breaches a year and 9 percent said they were certain their intellectual property had been stolen.

The threat is compounded by a significant skills shortage. The National Audit Office, reporting on the U.K. government’s cybersecurity strategy, highlighted a lack of expertise in the field in the government and particularly in the defense and intelligence sectors.

So systematic are the issues that the NAO believes it will take up to twenty years to fix the pipeline issues. This can be seen in the demand for jobs. The sheer number of positions recorded on online IT jobs analysis site itjobswatch shows that demand for people in the fields of cyber and information security is rapidly outstripping supply.

So there is clearly a problem. But this problem appears to be having an undesired effect on small businesses in particular. They are being turned off the business opportunities that cybersecurity presents.

In order to help move beyond the doom and gloom, businesses should think about how they can shift their cybersecurity efforts away from simply protecting themselves to actually making money. Trying to convince budget holders in a company to spend money to stop something happening that might not happen anyway is hard. But convincing them to spend money to sell more is much easier.