2023 saw a scramble to amass cybersecurity skills among the 250 firms featured in IT Channel Oxygen’s inaugural Oxygen 250 report.
The main question they faced was: buy or build.
The IT channel accounts for over 90% of a global cybersecurity technology market that grew 16.1% to $71.1bn in 2022 (and is still advancing double digits in 2023, despite a moderation in the pace of growth), according to analyst Canalys.
That made it a natural hunting ground for Oxygen 250 firms seeking to maintain growth in an otherwise flat market.
Among those buying their way to cyber glory was 87th-ranked MSP Acora, which followed up its 2022 purchase of Secrutiny by acquiring Infosec Partners in May 2023. 235th-ranked digital transformation consultancy FSP Consulting Services made a similar move a few months earlier when it acquired cybersecurity outfit Savanti.
Some of the report’s larger players were also at it, with 23rd-ranked Node4 and 42nd-ranked Ultima’s sole acquisitions in their latest years both being cyber specialists, 11th-ranked Daisy snapping up ECSC last June, and 32nd-ranked Wavenet grabbing Falanx Cyber in December 2023.
For others, cyber valuations became too overheated, however, with Trustmarque CEO Simon Williams telling IT Channel Oxygen that “unrealistic” expectations among sellers prevented the 9th-ranked firm making a cyber purchase in 2023.
“We looked at a number of cyber acquisition opportunities last year and the valuations were just unrealistic,” he said.
“You’d look at them and go ‘well, I think they’d have a massive value to our business, but we’ll never get a return on investment.’”
This may be one reason why others focused on building cyber capabilities organically, with 222nd-ranked Kick ICT (whose CEO, Tom O’Hara, is pictured above) launching a new cyber arm in its last financial year and 56th-ranked Total Computers onboarding a new specialised security team.
194th-ranked Waterstons claimed it is seeing “exponential” growth in cyber after setting up a SOC just before the start of its latest financial year, with 195th-ranked Krome also expanding its SOC in a bid to capture cyber budgets, meanwhile.