Good News for the Czech Republic – the Coronavirus Does Not Only Have Losers

For many months, we have been provided with reports of economic downturns and a difficult return to the situation before the pandemic - the CSO recently came with news about the economic downturn by 11 percent. There is no doubt that a number of sectors and companies will find it very difficult to recover from the wounds this year has inflicted on them. But nothing is black and white: apart from those who became victims of COVID-19, there is a number of fields that have recovered very quickly and now are growing again despite the short decline. And the good news is that the Czech Republic can also benefit from this, even in the future. Cybersecurity.

Why is this particular industry able to withstand the crisis that has hit others so hard? There are several reasons for it - some of them have been observed for a long time already, but others were brought about by the coronavirus pandemic itself and by its consequences.

Probably the most fundamental reason for the success of this sector is that protection against cybercriminals has been becoming an increasingly important topic for companies. More and more often they start to realize that if their systems happen to be attacked by hackers, it will hurt them - not only it will cripple the functioning of the company itself, but it will also damage its reputation. And if customers stop trusting companies with their data, they are in trouble. We can look at the American company Garmin which produces popular GPS fitness trackers and whose data have been completely blocked by hackers.

In addition, data recovery after the attack is quite expensive - data from cybersecurity company Sophos show that in case of a ransomware attack, companies in the US spent $730, 000 (CZK 16 million) on data recovery on average if they refused to pay the ransom. And if they paid for it, the expenses were usually twice as high. Thence every company will think twice whether it is better to invest in data protection in time or to risk an attack.

Cybersecurity is thriving thanks to the coronavirus itself - tens of thousands of employees have suddenly moved to home offices; therefore, companies suddenly need to secure remote access to their data and prevent them from leaking. Many of them have already been prepared, yet there are many more of those addressing the shortcomings as they go along. However, the coronavirus has showed that the ability to work remotely will be crucial for companies in the future.

So where exactly can the Czech Republic benefit from it? The development of cybersecurity is a huge opportunity for the whole economy. Here, we have all the ingredients: enough technical talent, good ideas and capital that can help develop these ideas. The example of companies like AVG or Avast illustrates very well that a global player who employs hundreds of people can be born in this country. I see great potential, for instance, in the field of fintech - the security of financial transactions, or in the detection of threats like viruses and other malicious software to computer systems.

Czech startups are doing very well at cybersecurity, although sometimes I lack a little more of aggression and drive in terms of expanding abroad. Many of them possess a product with global potential but they must not be satisfied with what they have achieved so far. And as for the emergence of new companies - the focus on IT and cybersecurity is, in my opinion, a way that can take our economy to the next level - level which does not rely solely on production. Because the more our work and private lives move to the network, the more people will want to misuse it.