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Thursday, Dec 7, 2023

Cybersecurity Is a $4B Business for San Diego

Internet security has a $4 billion economic impact on San Diego County, with 13,383 jobs tied to the cybersecurity cluster, an increase of 8% over the last two years, according to the authors of an in-depth look at the business specialty.

There are 1,016 establishments tied to the cybersecurity cluster in San Diego, up 17% over the last two years. These range in size from small businesses to the U.S. Navy, which employs 3,432 people at its IT command, NAVWAR (Naval Information Warfare Systems Command).

Some 59% of private sector cybersecurity jobs are in industries outside technology — in sectors such as manufacturing, architecture and engineering — showing that every business has an interest in keeping their systems and data secure.

Those are a few highlights of a much bigger report released today (Oct. 3) by the Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

Cybersecurity has an even greater impact when people widen their focus and count ripple effects of the sector, including supply chain and consumer spending. In addition to a core of approximately 13,400 local jobs, economists calculate there are 5,400 indirect jobs and 7,200 induced jobs, for a total economic impact of 26,000 jobs.

‘Leading the Charge’

“San Diego is leading the charge with more than 1,000 cyber firms, top ranked education and research institutes, and NAVWAR. This collaborative ‘Ecosystem in Action,’ as highlighted by the White House, is developing new technologies, solutions and diverse cyber talent to create a more secure digital community for all,” said Lisa Easterly, President and CEO of CCOE, the commissioning organization of the report.

“Firms in every industry face cybersecurity risks. This is driving up the demand for cybersecurity talent and solutions. To keep pace and remain competitive, San Diego must leverage its unique assets, such as the military, as well as its incredibly diverse pool of talent.” said Eduardo Velasquez, Senior Director of Research and Economic Development, San Diego Regional EDC.

The report differentiates between informational and operational technologies, or IT and OT. The latter are pieces of critical infrastructure, such as the power grid, controlled by internet technology. With the continuing growth of internet connected machinery and devices, much more is at stake during cyberattacks.

Last year, IBM estimated the cost of a cyberattack has increased. The global average cost of a cyberattack was $4.35 million; in the United States, the cost was $9.44 million.

Local cybersecurity firms remain deeply linked to the federal government, including the Department of Defense. A majority (65%) of San Diego cyber firms work directly or indirectly with the government. Nearly one-fifth indicate government-related work is their primary focus, explaining why 23% of local cybersecurity firms are in the defense and aerospace industry.

Demand for cyber talent far exceeds local supply. Three out of four cybersecurity firms in San Diego say they are having difficulty finding entry- to mid-level as well as experienced applicants.

San Diego County ranks ninth in cybersecurity employment concentration, with San Jose at the top of the heap, Seattle second and San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley third. Coming in fourth is the national capital region.

San Diego’s cost of living is holding the cybersecurity sector back, report authors said, while peer cities such as San Jose and Seattle have increased compensation. Report authors recommend both increasing compensation and diversity to help address San Diego’s talent shortage.



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