Australia has emerged as an “ideal” growth environment for cyber business but there is an urgent need to take advantage of this opportunity.
A new report, called “Australia’s Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan – 2019 Update”, published by the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network (ACSGN), said Australia has become a suitable environment for growth and is shaping up as one of our most promising sectors moving forward.
There has been a surge, ACSGN wrote, in demand for cyber security products and services globally, which bodes well for Australian security companies, given the growing need of organisations to protect their digital assets and databases from malicious activity.
Market trends point to “tremendous economic opportunity”, it submitted.
“Global annual spending on cyber security increased by 10 per cent to US$145 billion in 2018 and is expected to remain robust in coming years. The outlook for cyber security spending in the Indo-Pacific region, which includes Australia’s immediate Asia-Pacific neighbour states, as well as China and India, is particularly strong,” it wrote.
“Australia’s innovative cyber security companies are gaining respect and success both at home and in international markets. Cyber security is not only a dynamic sector offering a new source of economic growth and prosperity to Australia, it is also an enabler of growth through digital transformation in every sector of the economy.
“As businesses rely on the confidentiality and integrity of digital information, a strong domestic cyber security sector is critical for Australia’s competitiveness and international reputation as a trusted place to do business, and for the nation’s continued economic growth.”
Australia as an ‘ideal’ growth environment
Australia’s cyber security sector has a “strong reputation internationally”, ACSGN posited, ranking as the world’s seventh most committed cyber security country, according to the International Telecommunication Union’s 2017 Global Cybersecurity Index.
“Australia’s ‘cyber maturity’ is the second-highest in the Indo-Pacific, according to an annual survey by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which assesses how well governments worldwide invest in cyber security policies and legislative structures, business and digital economic strength, responses to financial cybercrime, military organisation, and social cyber awareness,” it wrote.
Moreover, the Global Open Data Index also ranks Australia second in the world for policies that support cyber security and allow government data to be openly available to the public, it added.
“Australia offers an ideal growth environment for cyber businesses, thanks to strengths in core research areas like quantum computation, wireless technology, trustworthy systems and niche high-value hardware,” ACSGN mused.
“Further drawcards for investment include Australia’s large services economy, quality education system, sound governance settings, economic stability, low sovereign risk and high living standards. The proximity to the fast-growing and increasingly digitised Indo-Pacific region adds to Australia’s natural advantages.”
These existing strengths, ACSGN surmised, put Australia in a favourable position to develop a vibrant and globally competitive cyber security sector.
“Economic analysis shows the sector has the potential to almost triple in size in coming years, with revenues soaring from just over $2 billion in 2016 to $6 billion by 2026,” it wrote.
Urgent action needed
This all said, there is an urgent need to seize the “extensive” opportunity in front of Australia, ACSGN stressed.
“Several hurdles are making it difficult for Australia to fully harness existing advantages and develop a sizeable world‑class cyber security sector. To capitalise on the enormous opportunity in cyber, Australia must address its skills shortage, focus efforts in research and development, improve the environment for start-ups, enhance access to global markets, and robustly measure the growth of the sector and its impacts on the broader economy,” it wrote.
“The Australian economy needs to nurture a sophisticated and resilient cyber security culture. This requires a shift in mindset for decision-makers within businesses as well as across the entire spectrum of employees, suppliers, and policymakers.
“More organisations will identify the value in investing in and supporting cyber capability when they recognise cyber security extending beyond risk mitigation and understand its role in driving economic growth.”