I was really stuffed for time, and my “big pipe” data connection at home seemed like it had all the bandwidth of a straw. What was going on? Ah, the hell with it, I thought. I called my colleague, who was waiting for me to email an important file.
“Hey, my connection’s a little slow. I’ll send you the link via Google Docs, and you can upload the file yourself.”
Little did I know that I was about to commit an act of potential corporate sabotage.
It’s called “shadow IT” — and it’s a key reason why cybersecurity companies will keep growing for years to come…
Dark Clouds Ahead
Using an innocuous cloud service like Google Docs is just one example.
What if you regularly bring your own personal tablet to work to do company business? Or maybe you’re plugging in a little thumb drive into your workstation’s USB port to informally transfer files in and out of your office network?
Or in a large business, someone forgets to tell the IT department about that big, new Wi-Fi printer/scanner that was installed a few months back?
Those are just a few examples of shadow IT. The more people who use a network (and the more devices and systems attached to it), the bigger the vulnerabilities.
For instance, a recent survey found that the average hospital was running more than 900 cloud services alone!
No wonder health care firms seem to fare the worst whenever a new virus or computer attack arises. As just one example among hundreds, the recent ransomware attacks that swept across Europe, Asia and the U.S. back in June disabled the digital dictation service used by hospitals in San Antonio, Texas — bringing consultations, referrals and, most importantly, billing to an abrupt halt.
In another example a few years ago, Chinese hackers broke into the computer networks of one of the nation’s largest hospital groups, Community Health Systems, and stole the personal data records for more than 4 million patients.
A Wave of New Spending
It’s no wonder then that in a recent survey by Becker’s Hospital Review, 73% of hospitals said they would increase their spending on cybersecurity.
If we do a little math, an average hospital’s yearly revenue is around $160 million. Of that, a hospital will spend roughly 2.5%, or $4 million, on IT. Multiply that figure by the 5,000 or so hospitals in the United States, and it soon adds up to a wave of new spending on cybersecurity products and services.
And bear in mind, that’s only one part of the U.S. economy.
That’s why experts believe cybersecurity is on track to be a $1 trillion business by 2021. A major uptick in spending is coming down the line “to the tune of 12% to 15% year-over-year growth through 2021,” according to analysts.
It’s also the reason why I’m making cybersecurity one of the cornerstones of my Total Wealth Insider service. Our next stock picks are designed to ride the massive spending wave coming to this critical part of the global economy.
Jeff L. Yastine
Editor, Total Wealth Insider
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