Classifying the UK Cyber Sector

Understanding the economy has never been more important. We can see, in vivid terms right now, just how reliant every aspect of our lives and our health are on the smooth running of the many businesses that make up the UK economy. Setting aside the short-term volatility caused by Coronavirus, the pace of change in global markets and the structure of the underlying business base has accelerated over the last few decades. There are whole new sectors and business models which did not exist just a few years ago.

The intelligence we have about what businesses do, where they are located and how significant they are, has not been up to the task at hand. There are lags in the release of official data and classification definitions struggle to keep up with the evolving nature of economy. Advanced post-industrial economies are particularly reliant on new tech driven sectors which have sprung up in the age of the internet and the growth of more agile service-driven business models. Sectors such as fin-tech, med-tech, cyber-security and data analytics are very obvious examples of new sectors that have emerged in recent years, but even more established sectors such as animation, manufacturing and life sciences are rapidly evolving in what they do and how they generate value.

Identifying sector organisations

There is a great wealth of information freely available to us that is now starting to become available in a structured way. The Data City RTIC Codes harness the information freely available from official sources and companies’ own web presence to generate fresh and interesting sector groupings that help us better understand the emergent shape of the economy around us. Building on from the words businesses use to describe their goods and services and tying it back to established classification methods and reported accounting information is a really helpful step. The Data Explorer is able to shed light in real time on businesses across the United Kingdom by blending different open data sources using machine learning technology.

The application allows us to group businesses around keywords and exemplar businesses and identify patterns of similar enterprises trading in new and emergent sectors. It allows us to build on, but not be constrained by traditional Standard Industrial Classification codes and it allows us to locate businesses based on their trading location rather than simply their registered offices.

Top performing Cyber companies

By looking at the revenue and profit generated in 2018, we can provide insight around how some of the top Cyber companies are performing. The top three being Sophos, Spirent Communications and Maintel Holdings with a combined profit of over £900m in the year. Our UK Cyber Sector Report details the top 10 with figures.

10% increase YOY this decade

Our work on the Cyber Sector shows that the UK is sitting on a growing base of businesses in one of the world’s most critical and fastest growing sectors. National sector mapping work undertaken by DCMS has arrived at a deliberately cautious estimate of the core sector. The more recent work by The Data City shows the UK has probably double the amount of Cyber business trading than previously identified and more than 4,000 business across the UK which deliver, develop or contribute towards cyber-security solutions.

Our mapping work shows that the UK Cyber Sector is heavily concentrated around London, more so than earlier work commissioned by DCMS. It also identifies hotspots in Reading, Manchester and Milton Keynes which may not have been previously recognised. And it flags up some cities which may have laid claim to a strong base in cyber such as Cambridge and presents some stark messages for other cities about the ground they have to make up if they are to establish their own cyber sector to strengthen their local business base.

Download the report

The UK Cyber Sector Report 2020 contains a top level review of the 4031 Cyber companies identified by The Data City, and is available for download now. It includes geographic spread, economic growth and top performing companies.


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