As the digital economy grows, so does digital crime. This reality means that cybersecurity is one of the segments of the ICT market that can be depended on for reliable growth even in the slowest years. We can expect to see global cybersecurity spending increase by 13.2% this year to reach a value of $223.8 billion, according to market researcher Canalys.
The outlook for the cybersecurity market is equally positive in South Africa. The growing risk and costs of cybercrimes such as ransomware attacks and phishing means that no company can afford to be complacent. According to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), cybercrime costs the South African economy around R2.2 billion a year.
In addition to the direct costs of a successful attack or breach, companies are increasingly aware of the regulatory burden they face under the POPIA regulations. The Information Regulator is baring its teeth, issuing enforcement notices to companies that contravene POPIA’s data protection regulations.Faced with tougher regulation and attacks that are growing in volume and sophistication, mid size companies are under growing pressure to ramp up investment in cybersecurity. But most of them lack the specialist in-house skills they will need to protect their businesses’ data and systems in an increasingly complex risk landscape.
One study by Kaspersky found that 87% of South African companies don’t have the required skills to protect themselves from advanced cyber threats. Only 33% had their own internal security operations to manage tech risks. Many of them also can’t afford to invest in high-end security solutions like security information and event management (SIEM); they would also prefer to outsource security to experts and focus on their core business.
This has created a compelling opportunity for our partners that focus on small and medium businesses (SMBs) to fill the gap with bespoke consulting services and outsourced solutions. Resellers and VADs are creating affordable as-a-service and managed service offerings that make enterprise-grade security accessible to the mid-market.
These offerings bring together functionality such as identity and access management; endpoint, email, and application security; data loss prevention; cloud security; and security incident and event management (SIEM) or managed detection and response (MDR). Standardisation on such a platform simplifies administration, integration and training.
The rise of zero-trust architecture
The move towards zero-trust architecture will also help to drive demand for consulting services and new technology from mid-market customers. Zero trust rethinks the old assumption that everything within the network is trustworthy. In zero trust, all traffic, users and devices coming into the network need to be verified authorised, inspected and secured.
Artificial intelligence (AI) promises to be another game-changer. Sophisticated AI and machine learning will enable security systems to become more effective at identifying and responding to evolving risks. On the downside, criminals are exploring ways to use AI to build better malware, impersonate humans for social engineering attacks, and generate mass phishing emails.
With digitalisation of the global economy still in its early phases, the arms race between cybercriminals and the cybersecurity industry has only just started. Ever-tougher regulation, emerging attack vectors like AI and the Internet of Things IoT), and rising attacks on SMBs mean that cybersecurity will be in high demand for the foreseeable future.
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