The UK cybersecurity sector is now worth £8.3bn, as investment in the industry booms.

This is according to a new report by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which reveals that the sector contributed £3.7bn to the UK economy over the past two years.

The number of active cybersecurity firms in the UK has increased 44% from 2017, now reaching more than 1,200 firms, the equivalent of a new cybersecurity business each week.

According to Emolument, IT security is now the third best-paid tech job in the UK, with 43,000 full-time employees working in the cybersecurity sector.

Total revenues in the sector are up 46% from £5.7bn in 2017, with the UK’s world-leading technology sector with its “research and business-friendly environment” contributing to this, as well as a number of government initiatives.

UK cybersecurity industry worth climbs as government adds investment

The UK government is also investing £1.9bn over five years through its National Cyber Security Strategy, according to Digital Minister Matt Warman, which has the aim of making the UK “the safest place to live and work online”.

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Minister Matt Warman said:

“It’s great to see our cyber security sector going from strength to strength. It plays a vital role in protecting the country’s thriving digital economy and keeping people safe online.

“We are committed to seeing it grow and are investing £1.9bn over five years through our National Cyber Security Strategy to make sure we lead the way in cyber innovation, develop and attract the best talent.”

Total investment in the cybersecurity sector has exceeded £1.1bn, with significant investment in early-stage companies.

The report also highlights the growth of sub-sectors in the UK cybersecurity industry, focusing on areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Earlier this week, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced proposals for stricter regulations for IoT security.

However, despite significant growth in the UK cybersecurity sector, the industry faces a skills shortage, with a global shortage of cybersecurity jobs predicted to reach 3.5 million by 2021, according to research by Cybersecurity Ventures.

As the frequency and severity of cyberattacks continues to grow, this is an issue that urgently needs addressing.

Darktrace CEO Poppy Gustafsson explains that this growth reflects the security challenges organisations are facing:

“The immense growth of the cyber security industry in recent years reflects the magnitude of the cyber challenge confronting organisations of every kind in modern society. Organisations have had no choice but to lean on AI that fights back on their behalf in the face of fast and sophisticated threats, and it is this appetite for what we call ‘autonomous response’ technology that has driven Darktrace’s exponential growth. As we start to see the early signs of attackers using AI, defensive AI will be critical, and not just a nice-to-have. The best algorithms will win many battles, but the cyber war will rage on.”

Read more: Cybersecurity predictions for 2020: 45 industry experts have their say.