2020 a record year for the UK cyber security sector
Last year was a record year for the UK’s cyber security sector, analysis by the UK Government has found.
The DCMS Annual Cyber Sector Report, which tracked the UK’s cyber security industry across a range of indicators between April 2019 and December 2020, reveals a 21 per cent increase in cyber companies in 2020, 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 UK cyber security sector is now worth an estimated £8.9bn and contributes more than £4bn to the economy, an increase of six per cent in the last year.
And 2020 was also a record year for investment, with £821m raised by firms.
The survey suggests that more than half of firms (54 per cent) are now based outside London and the south east of England, with cyber security clusters flourishing in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north west of England.
The most commonly provided cyber security products and services include cyber professional services, threat intelligence, monitoring, and detection and analysis.
The research highlights particular growth in firms offering solutions for industrial control systems and IoT security.
UK Government 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.”
The data reveals that while nine in ten companies (89 per cent) felt COVID-19 had impacted their business, many of these firms had quickly adjusted and innovated.
Many had found the capacity to offer 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, which has offices in London, Edinburgh and Belfast, helped ensure the rapid deployment of hundreds of volunteers through its background check service.
Ian Savage, founder and CEO of SureCert, said: “SureCert won one of the TechForce 19 competitions from NHSx in May.
“This competition provided funding for solutions that could find, background check and deploy hundreds of volunteers to support vulnerable people in communities across Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“SureCert focused on processing identity, reference and criminal record checks for volunteers, maximising trust during the pandemic.”
Federico Charosky, managing director of Quorum Cyber, said: “Quorum Cyber have been incredibly lucky to be in a position to help, both directly and indirectly, whether it was through providing cyber security services to the public and private sector, including delivering security operation centre and incident response capabilities to local authorities and the NHS, or by hiring well over 25 people since the beginning of lockdown, including taking three graduate apprentices.”