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December 2, 2011

UK IT security spending tops £3bn a year: report

Spending on mergers and acquisitions in the security space total $22bn over the last three years, PwC claims

By Steve Evans

Businesses in the UK will spend over £3bn on IT security this year, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The consultancy firm says that worries over the safety of cloud computing, the increasing use of mobile devices in the workplace and the growing threat of cyber attacks means the UK is spending more than ever before on protecting itself.

The report found that the security market as a whole now tops $60bn. It is expected to grow at 10% per year for the next three to five years, PwC said.

PwC also looked at mergers and acquisitions in the security space. Global deal activity over the last three years exceeds $22bn, the firm said. In the first half of 2011 alone, there were 37 deals accounting for over $10bn in value, a 70% increase on the full year for 2010.

"Deal activity in cyber security is expected to continue to grow given the fragmentation of the market and the attractive growth outlook," said Barry Jaber, PwC’s security Industry Leader.

"Technology and IT companies are making acquisitions to differentiate their offerings while defence firms continue to do deals to diversify away from shrinking defence budgets," he added.

Some of the big deals in the security space over the last couple of years include Intel’s $7.8bn deal for McAfee, Dell’s $612m acquisition of Secureworks and HP’s $1.6bn deal for ArcSight. Symantec’s $1.2bn acquisition of VeriSign is also included on that list.

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"This convergence is driving innovation in the market and, coupled with an increasing awareness of cyber security risks across all organisations, presents significant opportunities for businesses that can address current and emerging issues. This will continue to drive M&A activity by both strategic and financial investors," Jaber added.

Another report from PwC this week revealed that cybercrime is now the third most common type of economic crime in the UK with over one-quarter of victims of economic crime reporting a cyber element to it.

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