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Annual cyber sector report

The UK’s cyber industry attracted record investment last year despite the global pandemic, according to a new Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) report. It points to more cyber security companies and more people working for them.

The DCMS Annual Cyber Sector Report, which tracks the UK’s cyber security industry across a range of indicators between April 2019 and December 2020, showed a 21 per cent increase in firms in the field, bringing the total to 1,483. In a nine per cent rise in employment in the industry, more than 3,800 new full time jobs were created, bringing the total number of people working in the sector to 46,683. The sector is now worth an estimated £8.9 billion, with a record £800m of investment raised by firms.

Ahead of a virtual DCMS-funded CyberASAP (Academic Startup Accelerator Programme) event announcing the findings, Digital Minister Matt Warman said: “The need for cutting-edge cyber security has never been greater and this resilient sector is growing, diversifying and solidifying its status as a jewel in the UK’s tech crown.

“With more than 3,800 new jobs created, firms – large and small – are doing vital work keeping people and businesses secure online so we can build back safer from the pandemic. I am committed to supporting the industry to reach new heights, create more jobs and lead new innovations in this field.”

A majority (65 per cent) of the 46,683 workforce are employed by what are termed large firms (of 250-plus employees). The report saw particular growth in firms offering solutions for industrial control systems and IoT security. More than half of firms (54 per cent) are outside of London and the south east, with ‘clusters’ in areas such as Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north west of England. For the 78-page report in full, visit the DCMS website.

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John Smith, Manager, Solutions Architects, EMEA and APAC at Veracode said the technology skills shortage, especially in security, is a pressing issue. “Given the current technology skills shortage – there are currently only five undergraduate computer science degrees certified by the UK’s NCSC for cybersecurity content – this growth in the industry combined with the recent launch of the UK Cyber Security Council is a beacon of hope for new training opportunities, accredited courses, and qualifications for software developers to get the assistance they need to thrive and protect our nation against damaging hacks and attacks.

“There’s no shortage of security flaws to be fixed in the applications we use every day. We know from our Veracode State of Software Security research, for example, that 76 per cent of apps have at least one security flaw. It is therefore essential that application security training is closely considered as part of our growing industry, ensuring people are equipped with the skills, tools and technology to create software that is robust from the outset.”

And Jake Moore, Cybersecurity Specialist at ESET, said: “The importance of cyber security grows at the same exponential rate that attacks occur. Boosting the industry with homegrown talent across the UK naturally builds a communal resistance, strengthening its protection. With increased remote working, the future of the industry doesn’t need to rely on special talent being focused geographically in hotspots around the country; now anyone can move into cyber security should they desire to. The positive increase in firms operating in the industry alongside the added investment also boosts the country’s chances of being a big player, which in turn attracts an even better workforce.”


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