After a year of high-profile data breaches, cyber security spending has soared globally by 10 per cent to hit US$53 billion.
According to analyst firm Canalys, the segment outperformed all other IT segments except business continuity and workforce productivity, which took precedence during the pandemic.
“Cyber security must be front and centre of digital plans, otherwise there will be a mass extinction of organisations, which will threaten the post-COVID-19 economic recovery,” said Canalys chief analyst Matthew Ball. “A lapse in focus on cyber security is already having major repercussions, resulting in the escalation of the current data breach crisis and acceleration of ransomware attacks.”
Last year saw a number of major enterprise and technology sector cyber attacks, with Canalys claiming more data records were compromised in just 12 months than in the previous 15 years combined.
The most high-profile of these was network monitoring vendor SolarWinds, which set off a wave of supply chain attacks following the breach. Hotel chain Marriott was also hit for the second time in two years. More recently, and closer to home, the Australian government and media company Nine Entertainment were hit by cyber attacks.
According to Canalys, many businesses were forced to implement business continuity measures quickly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
This was often at the expense of cyber security and bypassed longstanding corporate policies, the firm claimed, leaving many exposed to exploitation by sophisticated threat actors and opportunistic hackers.
Canalys also claimed cloud infrastructure services grew by 33 per cent in 2020 to US$142 billion, representing an increase of US$45 billion in annual spend against 2019.
Cloud software services increased more than 20 per cent during the same period, with Zoom’s reported revenue jumping by 300 per cent, while Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce maintained strong double-digit growth, the firm said.
On the flip-side, notebook PC shipments also had a record year, surging 17 per cent, and are forecast to grow further in 2021. Sales growth of home Wi-Fi routers exceeded 40 per cent, as remote workers looked to improve their connectivity, while home printers and ink sold out.