Global Trailblazers: The Unturned Stones Of Untapped Cyber Innovation “(Forbes Tech Council)”

02.14.23 | Alberto Yépez | Blog Post

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McKinsey’s recent research shows an enormous increase in the number and complexity of cyberattacks over the past few years. Monetary damage is estimated to hit about $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, prompting a $2 trillion market opportunity for cybersecurity technology and service providers. As a result, the demand for cybersecurity solutions to detect, prevent and respond to these attacks is growing at an exponential pace.

With this increased demand, the global economy’s current downturn and the shift away from Silicon Valley as the primary hub of startups and venture capital, now is the ideal time to invest in emerging companies and innovation ecosystems beyond the conventional footprint.

GDPR Sets Prime Example

Over the years, the champion markets within cybersecurity have been obvious players like the U.S., the U.K. and Israel. Even though the industry acknowledges that cybersecurity is applicable everywhere, innovation and investment opportunities typically haven’t been recognized in developing nations despite their massive potential—until recently.

For example, with increased demand for enhanced privacy in Europe, the EU responded and became a leader in this space via the adoption and implementation of GDPR compliance in 2018. Since then, other nations have looked to the EU as a prime example for privacy regulation, which eventually became a driving force behind the CCPA. It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing other up-and-comers take a page from this playbook, particularly because European IT security spending has since exploded and is expected to surpass $66 billion in 2026.

Importance Of Youth And Mobile Technology

Although many perceive Europe as the next big market outside of the U.S., regions and countries within Central and South America are currently building an enhanced cybersecurity economy with rapidly expanding investment potential. In fact, the Latin American cybersecurity market was recently valued at nearly $6 billion, and analysts expect countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Mexico to be at the forefront of the security budget increase over the coming years, largely fueled by the digital revolution and its resulting security risks.

These regions have younger, digitally native populations that depend on emerging technology, creating a never-before-seen demand for security. One area that stands out is mobile. The rapid adoption of mobile and its ability to enable greater participation in global society and the economy through social media, open banking and commerce are giving rise to micro-economies with macroeconomic impact, helping people enjoy greater prosperity. However, with these new capabilities come substantial cybersecurity risks, making it a very attractive market.

Similar developments are happening across Africa and Southeast Asia in places like Kenya and the Philippines. The last few decades have been largely marked by societal issues in these areas, but now younger generations are finding their voices and amplifying their perspectives across the world—all courtesy of mobile technology. Startups are heavily focused on securing these devices so today’s youth can speak freely and securely no matter where they are, and more investments in them will be close behind.

Although there can be challenges when working with international, emerging markets, there are greater needs often ignored by more developed markets. More specifically, threats to emerging markets are more than just typical cyberattacks searching for personally identifiable information (PII), social media logins or bank account details. Instead, they can even be threats to elections, free speech or even peoples’ lives where the infrastructure and public awareness of how to prevent these cyber events is limited. Outside of traditional ROI and value creation, this is yet another area where cybersecurity plays such a critical role: protecting these voices.

Cultivating Talent And Solutions

In response, local organizations have emerged to help facilitate growth opportunities. For example, the Tarasa Collective, “Latin America’s Women-Only Angel Syndicate,” has committed to a more equitable tech scene in the region. Both the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and World Economic Forum (WEF) have started pushing more cybersecurity initiatives.

Other organizations are also taking part in this development around the world. The IDB recently announced Israel’s Ministry of Finance and the National Cyber Directorate have established a new cybersecurity initiative that includes a $2 million contribution to strengthen cybersecurity capabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Meanwhile, the WEF is regularly discussing how cyber ties into everything from the supply chain and Web3 to the workforce gap and regulation. Also, my company has also formed a strategic partnership with organizations like Grupo Santander to cultivate global cyber innovation and economic prosperity.

Alliances like these enable organizations to expand business with new regions and open up opportunities that bring unique cyber ecosystems, rich talent pools, strong demand signals, robust capital accessibility and more. It doesn’t matter if your definition of investing in cybersecurity means creating a new fund or starting a strategic alliance—the first step toward solving global cybersecurity challenges begins with creating a dynamic environment that allows for distributed work and develops our most critical resource: talent.

We are up against a global talent shortage paired with more and more connected devices and expanded attack surfaces. It is vital we empower our teams as we address cybersecurity demand. The same goes for distance learning. Ensure you have the proper tools, programs, infrastructure and company mindset to create collaborative, inclusive curriculums that go the distance.

A Global Village

Cybersecurity innovation knows no boundaries. The opportunity is much greater than simply investing in foreign companies and bringing them across the pond to the U.S. Rather, we have the chance to help serve high potential markets while providing critical solutions that empower people to connect, find their voices, embrace curiosity in the latest technologies, and build new products and companies themselves—all safely and securely.

Amid these unturned stones lays the foundation of modern industry and where we’re headed. It is time to cultivate this community of contributors ready to make global impact. Let’s find the innovators where they are, support them and build a stronger future together.

***This blog was originally posted on Forbes.com. You can read it here.***

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