Cyber security market still set for growth despite Covid-19

Worst case scenario still expects growth at 2.5 per cent

Global cyber security spending is predicted to grow in the face of the coronavirus pandemic with a best case scenario generating growth of 5.6 per cent by the end of 2020, reaching US$43.1 billion in the process.

That's according to research firm Canalys, which also claimed that in the worst case scenario, the market is still forecasting growth at 2.5 per cent. Forecasts are dependent on the level of negative economic impact and duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, the research stated.

The need for such an increase in cyber security, according to Canalys research analyst Ketaki Borade, is to combat the increase in security issues following the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The emergence of Covid-19 in January saw a surge in targeted phishing campaigns and malicious domains established to lure end users searching for information,” Borade said.

“These fell once lockdown took effect. But hackers continue to target organisations and individuals by compromising unsecured and poorly trained remote workers via numerous vectors, including email, social engineering and RDP brute force attacks.

"Organisations will have to reassess changes to workflows, application use, customer engagement and training for cyber security awareness in a more virtual workplace."

Of all the market segments that make up cyber security, web and email security is forecast to see the largest growth of 10.3 per cent to 7.8 per cent, from best case to worst case scenario.

Next was vulnerability and security analytics, with growth of 10 per cent to 7.4 per cent expected, then endpoint security with anticipated growth of 8.5 per cent to 5.9 per cent and then data security with a potential growth window of 8.5 per cent to 5.3 per cent.

The endpoint security market in particular was highlighted as seeing a high growth rate with the continuation of remote working, but is expected to slow after seeing a strong Q1, particularly from small- to medium-sized businesses.

The only market segment to predict a decline was network security, with a best to worst case window predicting declines of 0.9 per cent to 4.7 per cent. Despite this, it is still the largest market segment, taking up 36 per cent market share.

The movements behind these segments were indicative of organisations moving away from physical networks and towards addressing the potential of new vulnerabilities arising from remote working.

Furthermore, the cloud market is also expected to see more spending with cloud deployment options and security cloud-deployed workloads also increasing in demand for business continuity measures and cloud migration acceleration.

Matthew Ball, chief analyst at Canalys, said the shift to subscription-based services will initially protect the security market from immediate IT budget cuts, but cyber security spending forecasts for the rest of the year are not set in stone.

“The switch from free trials to paid-for subscriptions will be a factor in maintaining cyber security growth," he said.

"But the mix of cost containment measures, workforce reduction and cashflow issues will result in greater scrutiny of existing projects and smaller deals. Delays and cancellations of new initiatives will increase, except those that enable cost reductions and secure high-priority digital transformation initiatives."

Looking ahead, Borade predicted large-scale remote working to be in place for longer than what was expected during March lockdowns.

“While some employees will return to the workplace over the coming months, organisations will have to maintain a highly decentralised workforce that can work anywhere for the foreseeable future,” he added. “This includes a combination of remote-only and flexible workers, as well as on-site-only workers that can quickly transition to remote-only working if a localised or national lockdown arises again.”