Spending on cyber security worldwide is expected to soar over the next decade.
Cyber security is one of the most rapidly expanding sectors worldwide. Global spending on cyber security products and services is expected to increase by 88 per cent over the next eight years, from around US$145 billion today to almost US$270 billion in 2026. In Australia in 2018, external spending on cyber security products and services grew by eight per cent to A$3.9 billion. This compares with six per cent growth in 2017.
While Australia’s cyber security sector is still developing, there is the potential to capture a significant share of the growing global cyber security market.
The sector is quickly growing in maturity and size, with an increasing number of home-grown success stories.
The 2019 update to Australia’s Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan again draws on extensive industry consultation and research to provide an updated picture of the global outlook, challenges, opportunities and priority actions needed to grow a vibrant and globally competitive cyber security sector that enhances Australia’s future economic growth.
Last year’s update provided a ‘deep dive’ on the skills and workforce gap – one of three key issues holding back the sector’s growth. This year’s deep dive explores the underlying structural challenges of not yet having robust measurement of the sector’s development, as well as the economic impacts.
A clear view of the maturity and size of Australia’s cyber security sector is essential for strategic growth. Good policy and future investments are contingent upon policymakers, entrepreneurs and investors having a clear picture of the sector on which to make informed decisions.
This problem of poor sector economic data is not unique to Australia. Currently, there are no robust and repeatable measurements of the cyber security sector in any country, meaning the economic characteristics of the cyber endeavour are poorly understood.
Cyber security as a business activity, as well as an economic pursuit, cuts across all many different sectors and industries. It includes not only providers of cyber security capability who comprise the cyber security sector, but also organisations in other sectors that employ in-house cyber security staff. Furthermore, cyber security products and services also protect and enable the infrastructure, supply chains and value chains of the digital aspects of the global economy, but the benefits of cyber security have not been studied to the necessary depth and richness.
Solving these measurement challenges will allow governments to form more robust and sophisticated industry development policies; encourage investment in the sector; and help cyber security companies to better understand their commercial surroundings and the opportunities available to them.
I hope the measurement of fundamental economic metrics such as the size of the sector and its value added to the economy can serve as a foundation to more sophisticated analysis – such as the broader impacts of cyber innovation across the economy, including its role as an enabler of growth and its beneficial impact to overall prosperity.
The ‘Australian Cyber Security Industry Roadmap’ continues to be a companion document to this Sector Competitiveness Plan to enable growth opportunities for Australia. Developed in partnership with CSIRO Futures, the Roadmap primarily focuses on the role of cyber security as a ‘horizontal’ and how it can enable growth opportunities in other sectors. Together, this plan and the roadmap are guiding documents for sector growth.
The past year has seen progress in several areas and Australia is in a strong position. But more needs to be done to ramp up the momentum over the next 12 months – including targeted government and industry investment in infrastructure to support commercialisation and innovation, and the establishment of a national platform for measurable and scalable cyber security skills development and workforce growth.
Key alignment opportunities will arise through the forthcoming national 2020 Cyber Security Strategy and the industry development strategies of state and territory governments, as well as coordinated efforts on behavioural norms for cyber space in international multilateral forums.
A globally competitive Australian cyber security sector will ultimately underpin the future success of every industry in the national economy. A consolidated effort is needed to continue to build on early successes and sustain Australia’s competitiveness and strategic advantages in the creation and commercialisation of cyber security products and services.
AustCyber Chief Executive Officer