Cyber security market to reach $120B by 2017

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The value of the global cyber security market is expected to reach $120 billion by 2017, driven by changing threats and technologies, according to a recent report.

The industry will grow by 11.3 percent each year and reach $120.1 billion by 2017, according to MarketsandMarkets (M&M), a Dallas-based research company and consulting firm. Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region are estimated to contribute $28.1 billion and $25.9 billion, respectively, to worldwide totals by 2017. Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe are considered high-growth markets in the report.

The increased adoption of cloud computing, data centers and wireless communication devices are primary growth drivers for the security market, according to M&M. Organizations are also increasingly looking at services, such as managed security and consulting, to protect sensitive systems and networks.

With concerns over hacktivism and terrorism, cyber defense is increasingly playing a pivotal role in national security, according to a summary of the report released by the company. Every political and military conflict now has a cyber dimension, and defenders have to focus on building up capabilities just as they would prepare for physical warfare.

"Attempts to target vital international defense installations can neither be ruled out nor mitigated successfully without significant cyber security measures," the firm said.

Stuxnet highlighted the fact that digital protection was no longer a "matter of securing servers and software, company data and continuity, but a matter of citizen safety," according to M&M. Organizations realized that critical infrastructure – such as electric grids, water systems, gas and oil pipelines, air traffic control systems and hospital networks – were "indeed  vulnerable" to attack.

For example, many critical infrastructures, such as power grids and water systems, are being connected to smart meters and sensors to allow remote monitoring. M&M estimated that by 2017, public sector and utilities will account for the largest share of the cyber security market, with about 30 percent.

Further driving growth in the sector is the rise of nation-state activities, which include espionage where the adversaries are looking for sensitive data and intellectual property that gives the companies in their countries a competitive edge, Mark Lobel, a principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers, told SCMagazine.com. These types of attacks affect most, but not all, industry sectors, making cyber security an industry-wide concern.

The popularity of mobile devices and increased adoption of the cloud has also exposed enterprises to sophisticated and persistent threats.

It "tremendously complicates" the work the good guys have to do to protect the network since information is stored in multiple places, Lobel said. Organizations have to understand what sensitive data they have, where it is stored and which controls are in place to protect it.

Organizations also have to think about the tools and strategies to defend themselves, said Lobel. In terms of financially driven crime, the focus is generally on blocking off access paths and locking out the attacker.

With nation-state attacks and espionage malware, organizations must be careful not to let on that they know about the intrusion so they can study how deep the hackers have penetrated and determine the extent of the damage, Lobel said.

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