The New Border Wars

Looking for Opportunities in Cyber Security

Cybercrime has become big business globally. Given the nature of this “industry”, solid statistics are hard to come by, but by all accounts, the numbers are huge. In 2015, British insurer Lloyd’s estimated that cybercrime cost businesses worldwide $400 billion per year. This is about as much as the annual gross domestic product of Austria.

This estimate doesn’t include the opportunity costs of companies holding back from keenly exploring online business prospects or corporate or government espionage. There’s a growing discomfort out there.

This week at the Microsoft-sponsored Future Decoded event in London, UK finance minister Philip Hammond announced a government initiative called the National Cyber Security Strategy, with the goal of making digital business in the UK more secure. Mr Hammond announced the British government would invest £1.9 billion to build out this strategic initiative over the next five years. The government has already invested £860 million between 2011 and 2016 for a similar initiative.

Mr Hammond outlined three cyber-security actions: defend, deter and develop. The UK government says it’s looking to create safe zones in order to attract business and build an anti-cybercrime industry. The goal is clear: “The UK will be one of the safest places in the world to do business”.

In an environment where every light bulb and lock have the potential of getting connected to the Internet, and every photo file gets stored to the cloud, the number of vulnerabilities exposing users to cyber-attacks is growing exponentially.

The UK government is taking a leading role in the fight against cybercrime and we expect an increase in investments from other governments as well as private organizations. The government cannot be held solely responsible; companies also have a responsibility to cyber security just as they do with other types of risk. Similarly, technology companies must rise up to the occasion and incorporate best-security practices into their products. Getting this right will be crucial to keeping the UK ahead in cyber security.

Countries are allocating more resources to guard their cyber borders as a new arms race develops between cyber criminals and governments trying to protect their economies and citizens.