The Australian cyber security sector is coming into its own. It is well positioned to enable the uptake and application of trusted digital technologies and practices in the global economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cyber security continues to be one of the most rapidly expanding sectors worldwide, with global spending on cyber security products and services increasing by 30 per cent from 2017 to 2020. This year alone, Australians spent approximately A$5.6 billion on cyber security from both local and international providers, a figure that is expected to increase to A$7.6 billion by 2024.
While the pandemic is having economic impact on Australia’s cyber security providers, it has accelerated digitisation trends and driven unprecedented domestic demand for cyber security. Trust in digital infrastructures and the data they carry is the mainstay of recovery from the pandemic – but also the means to drive productivity and effective diversification of the economy’s base. This is reflected in a range of industries that have not traditionally been recognised as digitised industries, and are now seeking robust cyber-physical protection.
Over the next decade, the Australian cyber security sector will become larger, more diverse and more sophisticated. Providers will continue to refine their market offerings to meet their customers’ varying cyber security needs and continue to support our changing economy. There will be new opportunities fuelling further growth as the application of technologies at the points of convergence between, and within, sectors create more complexity and pressure on systems and networks.
There are now over 500 providers in the domestic sector, supported by 26,500 workers employed in full time cyber security roles. At least 350 providers in the sector are considered sovereign. A closer look at the sector reveals it is characterised by new, innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with 88 per cent of providers having fewer than 100 employees.
This 2020 update to Australia’s Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan (SCP) draws on extensive industry consultation and research to provide a fresh 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 deep dive explored the underlying structural challenges of not yet having robust measurement of the sector’s development. This year, through market and administrative data, as well as insights from AustCyber’s inaugural sector-wide Digital Census, we have produced the first comprehensive measurement of the Australian cyber security sector – including state-by-state analysis. Consequently, figures in this SCP may be different or higher than estimated in previous SCPs as they are based on new and updated sources of data.
These fresh insights have allowed us to uncover the current state of the sector, outline the potential for the next growth phase and describe how to accelerate the momentum the sector has developed over the past five years.
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 past year has seen progress in several areas and Australia is in a strong position. Cyber security is a foundational enabler of digitisation – it builds digital trust and gives businesses and consumers the confidence to transact online, adopt new technologies, and create new markets and commercial opportunities.
Reflecting this, it was a logical next step for us to add ‘Australia’s Digital Trust Report 2020’ as a companion document to the SCP, joining the ‘Australian Cyber Security Industry Roadmap’ and ‘CISO Lens Benchmark’ as the premier suite of knowledge guiding sector growth and the economy’s understanding of cyber security.
‘Australia’s Digital Trust Report 2020’ highlights the role digital trust plays in attracting investment and driving jobs growth. It draws on data modelled by Synergy’s Advanced Modelling Group to quantify the value of digital activity to the Australian economy and the impact of a significant cyber security incident.
While we are well placed for further growth and success as the sector continues to tackle familiar challenges relating to innovation, market maturity, investment and skills, more needs to be done to ramp up the momentum over the next 12 months and slowing down is not an option.
Governments, cyber security sector leaders, educators and investors all have crucial roles to play as the sector matures. Already, a host of effective sector development activities and initiatives have yielded success. The innovation environment continues to mature, more customers are looking to Australian providers, and a sophisticated skills training architecture has been developed.
Ultimately, a globally competitive Australian cyber security sector will underpin the future success of every industry in the national economy. Let’s build on successes so far to foster innovation and generate increased investment and jobs through the creation and commercialisation of cyber security products and services.
Chief Executive Officer, AustCyber