Not that you need further convincing about the urgency surrounding cybersecurity in our increasingly interconnected world, or about the burning need for your cybersecurity skills …

… but the wealth of evidence in the most recent quarterly (Q4 2015) Cybersecurity Market Report from Cybersecurity Ventures should leave you with no doubt. The research and market intelligence firm, which covers the business of cybersecurity, including industry forecasts and emerging trends, piles on enough jolting stats to wake up even Rip Van Winkle.

The report discusses the growing size of the cybersecurity market, the mounting costs of cybercrime, the gaping cybersecurity workforce shortage, and U.S. federal government issues. Let’s take a brief look at each of these areas in Cybersecurity Ventures’ report.

A Whopping Market

There’s massive bucks involved when it comes to cybersecurity. The report quotes market research firm Gartner as stating that global spending on IT security amounted to $75.4 billion in 2015. Gartner forecasts that worldwide spending on information security will be $101 billion in 2018.

Interestingly, the report also includes the following quote from global asset management group Columbia Threadneedle Investments, suggesting that Gartner’s projections might be conservative:

Cybersecurity-Challenges.jpg“Given the ongoing, evolutionary nature of cyberattacks, coupled with the relatively low share of total IT spend security accounts for, we believe industry growth rates will remain stronger than industry forecasts. We expect 10-15% growth over the next 3-5 years versus the 8-10% forecasted by industry analysts like Gartner. This creates immense opportunities for innovative cybersecurity companies as well as potentially outsized investment returns for those capitalizing on the theme.”

Quoting the market research company MarketsandMarkets, the report adds that the sectors of aerospace, defense, and intelligence represent the largest contributors currently to cybersecurity solutions.

Sizing Up the Threat

If you read our blog post from last month on the Cisco 2016 Annual Security Report, you know that there has been no letup in the efforts of cybercriminals to become more innovative in their techniques. The Cybersecurity Market Report echoes this reality with its assertion, based on data from the British insurance company Lloyd’s, that cyberattacks are costing businesses $400 billion per year, a figure that includes not only the direct damage but also “post-attack disruption to the normal course of business.”

And perhaps the losses are even worse than that. To back up this point, the Cybersecurity Ventures report brings in a statement from the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2015 report that many cybercrimes go unreported by companies because they fear a loss to their reputation if they bring an attack to light.

In a blog post that we published during Cybersecurity Month (October) last year, we recapped an interview with Cisco’s Chief Security Officer John Stewart, where he speaks to the danger of organizations being too secretive about cybercrime rather than encouraging more proactiveness about it with an “all-hands-on-deck” mentality.

And Now Let’s Talk About You: The Talent Shortage

If you’re currently attempting to convince your employer of the need to invest in security and cybersecurity training for yourself and other members of your team, there’s a plethora of warnings you can point to out there predicting that many organizations will find themselves seriously in the lurch when it comes to the necessary skill sets. The Cybersecurity Market Report goes on seemingly infinitely in its collection of affirmations from many sources about the snowballing problem. One bullet point surfaces the findings of a Peninsula Press (a project of the Stanford University Journalism Program) analysis of numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that reveals that 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the United States are unfilled—adding that the demand for information security professionals is expected to swell by 53 percent through 2018.

 

In its annual list of the 100 best jobs, U.S. News & World Report most recently ranked information security analysis as eighth.

 

Michael Brown, CEO at Symantec, adds further fuel in the report: “The demand for the [cybersecurity] workforce is expected to rise to 6 million [globally] by 2019, with a projected shortfall of 1.5 million.”

A couple of other motivating cybersecurity job tidbits in the report: The Burning Glass Technologies publication Job Market Intelligence: Cybersecurity Jobs, 2015 attests that cybersecurity professionals can pull in a yearly salary premium of $6,500, which is 9 percent more than other IT workers. And, in its annual list of the 100 best jobs, U.S. News & World Report most recently ranked information security analysis as eighth.

As You Know, Government Agencies Are Not Immune

The Cybersecurity Ventures report devotes a sizable chunk to the U.S. federal government, citing a TIME article indicating that the federal government was the victim of 61,000 cybersecurity breaches just in 2015. The report also states that the U.S. federal government has spent $100 billion on cybersecurity during the past decade, with $14 billion in the budget for 2016.

View the complete Q4 2015 Cybersecurity Market Report from Cybersecurity Ventures for more statistics about the staggering impact of cybersecurity in this day and age, as well as breaking news in this arena. And take a renewed look at the Cisco commitment to security and cybersecurity training and certification.

 

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Gary Pfitzer is a content manager at Learning@Cisco, focused on bringing various aspects of today's IT journey to light through business papers, blogging, customer success stories, and other writing.