Is Cybersecurity Finally Sexy?

Cybersecurity awareness has come a long way. In the early days of the World Wide Web, many consumers and businesses believed avoiding spam emails and downloading an antivirus program was enough to stymie attackers. Anything beyond these two steps was seen as too complicated for the average user.

Today, large-scale cyberattacks regularly hit the front pages. While this is undoubtedly alarming, it has raised the collective level of consciousness around cybersecurity. Modern web users have at least a cursory understanding of ransomware, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and state-sponsored hackers. What was once considered techie jargon has now become household terminology.

But along with this great awakening comes a more emphatic push for digital defense measures from businesses, students, governments and web citizens. Which begs the question: Are cyber insurance and digital security finally sexy?

Startups & the Cybersecurity Boom
It's no secret that cybersecurity is a thriving enterprise. According to Business Insider, the digital defense industry is a $81.7 billion market with no signs of slowing down. In fact, spending on hardware, software and services is up 8.2 percent from last year; and IDC projects that the market will continue to advance at a 9 percent annual clip through 2020. Unsurprisingly, the prime movers in this market are startups.

"Security is a space where you see a lot of startups," says Sarah Guo, an investor at Greylock Partners, in an interview with BI. "Everything is increasingly internet connected and if it's internet connected, it's vulnerable. There's a lot of new opportunity, and I personally believe the market will grow for a long time."

Recruiting the Next Generation
Consequentially, this boost in demand for cybersecurity services has created a skills gap in the industry as employers scour for new talent. In response, many schools have adopted STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculums to encourage students to develop their expertise and interest in technology.

For example, the United Kingdom invested 20 million GBP in the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports and announced the creation of a Cyber School Programme to train young people through games, challenges and projects.

"To make sure the UK is prepared for the future and ready to tackle the growing threat posed by cyber criminals, we want to help young people learn some of the skills needed to work in the cyber security profession," says a government web page on the subject.

Cybersecurity Meets Company Culture
Cyber defense policies are also transforming company culture by taking cybersecurity out of the hands of IT and making it the collective responsibility of everyone in the company. Organizations can increase awareness by hosting defense trainings, openly discussing cybersecurity news around the water cooler and rewarding workers for employing safety protocols.

As you can see, cybersecurity has made the jump from relative obscurity to the mainstream. It is finally sexy enough to be taken seriously by small businesses, educators and employees.

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