Cybersecurity Almanac. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Cybersecurity Almanac: Research From Cybersecurity Ventures, 2017 To 2021

Six important, big-picture predictions based on current market conditions

Joseph Steinberg

New York, N.Y. – Apr. 4, 2018

Historically, almanacs were annual publications that included predictions for the upcoming year based on an analysis of facts known at the time of publication. In past generations, almanacs frequently served as important resource for farmers developing their planting strategies for upcoming seasons, and for others whose livelihoods depended heavily on weather patterns.

While some might consider annual almanacs to be outdated relics of a bygone era, predictions based on a thorough analysis of facts by those qualified to do so can be invaluable to businesses and individuals in many ways.

Today, of course, nearly all businesses and individuals rely directly or indirectly on data and computer systems for their livelihood, and as such, it makes sense to create an almanac focusing on cybersecurity. There is no need to write a book-long document, however, and today’s predictions can be published online without the need to print and distribute physical books – a reality which allows us to reasonably update such almanacs more often than just once per year. As such, I am now writing a Q1 update to the 2018 Cybersecurity Almanac article that I wrote last year for Inc. Magazine.

The predictions in this document are from research conducted and published by the cybersecurity research firm, Cybersecurity Ventures, as conveyed to me by its Founder and Editor in Chief, Steve Morgan. So, here are six important, big-picture predictions based on current market conditions:

  1. Global cybercrime damages, which were about $3 trillion in 2015, will reach about $6 trillion by the end of 2021 – a 100 percent increase in just five years.  This prediction figure has remained fairly stable, unaffected by any major news stories over the past three months.
  2. Global spending on cybersecurity is expected to exceed $1 trillion cumulatively over the next five years. In fact, that number may be an underestimate, as a significant amount of cybersecurity spending is not tracked as such.
  3. Ransomware damage worldwide was expected to exceed $5 billion in 2017, up from just $325 million in 2015, meaning that ransomware now inflicts an astounding 15 times as much damage as it did just 3 years ago.
  4. Even worse, unless something dramatically changes soon, global ransomware damage will likely exceed a damage rate of $11.5 billion annually by the end of 2019, meaning that over the next two years ransomware damage – which has already skyrocketed in scope – will likely more than double once again.
  5. Furthermore, ransomware will attack a business at least once every 14 seconds by end of 2019.
  6. While there has been significant talk about the present shortage of cybersecurity professionals, Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that the shortage will grow – and become dramatically worse. By 2021, as many as 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs will likely remain unfilled for significant periods of time – that number is three and a half times the 1 million figure from 2014, a point in time at which we already thought we had a serious shortage of cybersecurity pros. Cybersecurity Ventures also predicts that the effective unemployment rate for skilled cybersecurity professionals worldwide will remain at zero-percent for at least the next 4 years.

Joseph Steinberg is a recognized cybersecurity thought leader, and emerging technology influencer (with a focus on AI and blockchain-related offerings). He is one of the best read columnists in the cybersecurity field, and a respected authority on other “cool tech” products – having amassed millions of readers as a regular columnist for Forbes and Inc. magazines.