A security study commissioned by CDW Canada found that cybercrime is a growth industry. Already worth an estimated $8 trillion worldwide, by 2025 cybercrime is projected to be worth $10 trillion. It is not surprising, then, that the study also found 90% of Canadian organizations experienced a cyber-attack in 2022.
As cyber attackers become more sophisticated, with attacks emerging more frequently, and with technological advances and remote work expanding vulnerabilities, the study found that loss of data, lockouts, and service disruptions are major concerns for Canadian businesses.
The study recognized that “cyber resilience”—the ability to minimize damage and recover from attacks through breach response and mitigation—is becoming critical to security planning, as the idea of preventing all cyber-attacks may no longer be possible. CDW recommends that security professionals leverage machine learning, automation, and analytics tools to keep pace with attackers and move at the speed of machines, not of humans.1
With that need in mind, in March, Microsoft announced Microsoft Security Copilot, an AI-powered chatbot designed to assist cybersecurity professionals in understanding and resolving critical security issues. The chatbot draws on GPT-4, the latest large language model from OpenAI, combined with a security-specific model built by Microsoft. Microsoft engineers tested the chatbot internally and showed promising results in processing alerts and providing relevant insights quickly.
Security Copilot will work with Microsoft security products such as Sentinel and may add support for third-party tools based on user feedback. As Microsoft is a first mover in this space, if they were to require customers to use Sentinel or other Microsoft products in order to use Security Copilot it could influence purchasing decisions in favour of Security Copilot, even if other companies develop their own AI cybersecurity chatbots.2
Updates on Select Cybersecurity Companies
Okta posted better-than-expected results for Q4 and annual results for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2023. In Q4, the independent identity provider increased total revenue by 33% year-over-year and subscription revenue by 34%. For the year, Okta saw 43% YoY growth in total revenue (to $1.86 billion) and subscription revenue up 44% YoY (to $1.79 billion).3
This news comes as the company also announced in March that Okta for Government High—a secure identity solution built for U.S. federal agencies—earned its U.S. Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) High Authorization. With FedRAMP accreditation, Okta can now provide a greater number of federal agencies with the highest security and privacy protection for sensitive identities, resources, and information.4
CrowdStrike Holdings Inc.
CrowdStrike Holdings Inc. beat projections to deliver a 48% sales gain (to $637.4 million) in Q4 and announced annual recurring revenue of $2.56 billion and new annual recurring revenue of $221.7 million, which also bested estimates.5
CrowdStrike also announced a strategic alliance with Dell Technologies in March, which would see the companies provide frictionless and cost-effective solutions for preventing, detecting, and responding to cyber threats for businesses of all sizes. The alliance will allow customers to manage cyber threats and protect endpoints, cloud workloads, and data. CrowdStrike will also be available across a range of Dell offerings in the coming months, including with the purchase of Dell PCs. Both companies emphasize the need for a collaborative approach to address the complex threat landscape and provide strong defense for customers.6
CYBR ETF: Diversified Investing in Cybersecurity
A cybersecurity ETF offers a great alternative to gaining exposure to this industry without being locked into any single security, and without the hassle of hand-picking individual stocks. ETFs allow you to diversify by investing in multiple companies in multiple markets, ensuring that a single market shock won’t tank your portfolio.
Canada’s first cybersecurity ETF, Evolve Cyber Security Index Fund (TSX Ticker: CYBR), invests in global companies involved in the cyber security industry. For more information, visit the fund page here: https://evolveetfs.com/cybr/.
Portfolio Strategy and Activity
For the month, Okta Inc. made the largest contribution to the Fund, followed by Crowdstrike Holdings and Fortinet Inc. The largest detractors to performance for the month were Zscaler Inc., followed by Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp and GDS Holdings. On last rebalance, these securities were added to the portfolio: Hancom WITH Inc, KSIGN Co Ltd, and Absolute Software Corp.
- “With cyber criminals more organized and sophisticated than ever, security professionals developing new measures to stay ahead of attackers,” The Globe and Mail, March 24, 2023; https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/adv/article-with-cyber-criminals-more-organized-and-sophisticated-than-ever/
- Novet, J., “Microsoft introduces an A.I. chatbot for cybersecurity experts,” CNBC, March 28, 2023; https://www.cnbc.com/2023/03/28/microsoft-launches-security-copilot-in-private-preview.html
- “Okta Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2023 Financial Results,” BusinessWire, March 1, 2023; https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20230228006418/en/Okta-Announces-Fourth-Quarter-And-Fiscal-Year-2023-Financial-Results
- “Okta for Government High Achieves FedRAMP High Authorization,” Okta, March 28, 2023; https://www.okta.com/press-room/press-releases/okta-for-government-high-achieves-fedramp-high-authorization/
- Murphy, M., “CrowdStrike Jumps After Beating Revenue Estimates in Down Market,” Bloomberg, March 7, 2023; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-07/crowdstrike-jumps-after-beating-revenue-estimates-in-down-market#xj4y7vzkg
- “CrowdStrike and Dell Technologies Join Forces to Transform Commercial PC Cybersecurity,” CrowdStrike, March 6, 2023; https://www.crowdstrike.com/press-releases/crowdstrike-and-dell-technologies-join-forces-to-transform-commercial-pc-cybersecurity/