Some big names, including Donald Trump and Ashley Madison, fell victim to cybercrime in 2015, along with hundreds of millions of individuals and organizations. A single attack on insurer Anthem left almost 80 million customers and employees exposed. An attack on The United States Office of Personnel Management resulted in 18 million U.S. citizens' records and 5.6 million sets of fingerprints being stolen.
"Given the ongoing, evolutionary nature of cyber attacks, coupled with the relatively low share of total IT spend security accounts for, we believe industry growth rates will remain stronger than industry forecasts," said the investment bank Columbia Threadneedle Investments. Those rates are 10%-to-15% over the next three to five years, according Columbia Threadneedle, or 8%-to-10%, according to industry analysts at Gartner.
In a $75 billion market, growth rates such as these create immense opportunities for innovative cybersecurity companies, as well as potentially outsized investment returns for those capitalizing on market demand.
Leading companies such as Barracuda, FireEye, Fortinet, Palo Alto, and CheckPoint have had their ups and downs when it comes to their 2015 and 2016 share prices. However, both the projected market growth and evolving threat landscape leave little doubt of the long-term growth of the sector. Venture capital investment in the sector in recent years has been robust.
According to DowJones VentureSource, venture-backed cybersecurity companies raised $1.9 billion globally in 2014, with quarterly investment numbers remaining strong in 2015. Data breaches are estimated at an average cost of $3.8M per incident, so companies are constantly searching for new solutions to improve protection, speed response and prevent data loss. This leads to a diverse ecosystem of companies looking for private and public funding.