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UK's cybersecurity sector record investment of £8.9Bn

A new government report shows that the UK's growing cyber industry attracted record investment last year, despite the global pandemic.


UK's cybersecurity sector record investment of £8.9Bn

Feb 18, England: The UK’s growing cyber industry attracted record investment last year despite the global pandemic, according to a new government report.


With Covid-19 forcing more business and social activity online, the new figures reveal an increase in the number of cybersecurity companies and people working for them, as the government continues its drive to build back safer from the pandemic.


The DCMS Annual Cyber Sector Report, which tracks the UK’s cybersecurity industry across a range of indicators between April 2019 and December 2020, reveals a 21 per cent increase in firms operating in the field, bringing the total number to 1,483.


There was a nine per cent rise in employment in the industry with more than 3,800 new full-time jobs 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 £800 million of investment raised by firms.


Digital Minister Matt Warman will announce the findings at a CyberASAP event today, which gives UK researchers the opportunity to showcase their innovative new cybersecurity products to potential buyers.


The main findings from the report are:

  • Despite the current economic climate, 2020 was a new record year for cybersecurity investment with UK cybersecurity businesses raising over £821 million across 73 deals – more than twice that raised in 2019

  • The sector’s total annual revenue has continued to rise (by 7 per cent), reaching £8.9 billion within the most recent financial year

  • The sector contributed more than £4 billion to the economy - up 6 per cent in the last year, with mainly mature firms driving growth

  • The majority (65 per cent) of the 46,683 cyber workforces are employed by large firms (250+ employees).

  • This year’s survey also suggests that more than half of firms (54 per cent) are now based outside of London and the South East, with cybersecurity clusters flourishing across the country in areas such as Scotland, Northern Ireland and North West England.


The most commonly provided cybersecurity products and services include cyber professional services, threat intelligence, monitoring, detection and analysis. The research highlights particular growth in firms offering solutions for industrial control systems and IoT security, demonstrating the sector’s ability to adapt and meet emerging challenges, such as the need to secure smart cities.


The data reveals that while nine in ten companies (89 per cent) felt Covid-19 had impacted their business, many of these firms have quickly adjusted and innovated within the current economic climate.


Despite some firms in the sector feeling the pressure, many have still found the capacity to offer vital technical support to the NHS, and other critical national services, sometimes on a pro-bono basis.


Edinburgh firm Quorum Cyber helped strengthen the cyber defences of the NHS and local councils during the pandemic and created a number of skilled jobs. Meanwhile, SureCert, who have offices in London, Edinburgh and Belfast, helped ensure the rapid deployment of hundreds of Covid volunteers through its background check service.


While the number of cybersecurity firms continued to grow despite the pandemic, the government recognises the importance of making sure small and medium-sized scale-ups can continue to access support to grow in the years ahead.


UK startup businesses driving innovation and development have been helped through the coronavirus outbreak with a £1.25 billion government support package and the government has continued to back cybersecurity startups through programmes such as the LORCA cyber accelerator and the NCSC Accelerator to ensure early-stage cyber businesses have the support they need to continue.


The DCMS-funded CyberASAP programme supports the commercialisation of cybersecurity research from UK universities. Its event today will see the fourth cohort of teams demonstrate their new products to an audience of potential customers, investors and other key figures in the cybersecurity sector.


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