There is a world of threats out there trying to hack into the computers of companies, government agencies and private individuals. San Diego’s cybersecurity sector will have no shortage of work protecting systems and data from these online intruders.
“For better or worse, business is great. People get hacked and we’re there to help them,” said Eric Basu, CEO of Sentek Global, a San Diego-based cybersecurity and engineering company.
The company, which was founded in 2001, employs just under 200 people, and 60 percent of its business is related to cybersecurity, said Basu, including penetration testing, vulnerability assessment, compliance with cybersecurity standards and forensic work, which entails analysis after a hack to determine how the bad guys got in, what they took, and whether they implanted any “back doors” for future entry.
Cyber Self Defense Training
Last year Basu launched Haiku, a “cyber range,” which is a cloud-based virtual playing field where users can hone their skills at finding cyber vulnerabilities and defending against attacks. Basu likened the site to the shooting range where gun-users can practice their marksmanship.
Sentek is one of more than 150 companies in San Diego with a focus on cybersecurity, according to a study released in March by the Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE), a nonprofit agency with members in both the private and public sectors that promotes the growth and success of the local cybersecurity industry.
The report, an update of a 2016 study, shows that 8,450 people work in cybersecurity jobs, and an additional 11,210 jobs are indirectly related to cyber, created by inter-industry and business-to-business activities, for a total of nearly 20,000 jobs. Since 2016, direct cybersecurity employment has increased 11 percent, compared with 3 percent for the entire regional job market.
That adds up to a total annual economic impact of $2.2 billion for the San Diego region, according to the study, which was prepared by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Council on behalf of the CCOE.
A Diverse Workspace
“(Cybersecurity) is right up there with biotech and travel. It’s an important sector for San Diego and one we want to make sure continues to grow,” said Kenneth Slaght, chairman and president of CCOE.
Key cybersecurity occupations include software developers, at a median salary of $109,500, computer network architects at $119,400 and computer user support specialists at $57,100, according to the report.
San Diego’s cybersecurity workspace is diverse, with a range of companies providing a variety of products and services, including development of artificial intelligence or AI systems, “ethical hackers” who try to find security breaches so they can be fixed, and insurers who backstop losses due to cyberattacks, said Slaght.