Richard Stiennon, the industry analyst and founder of IT-Harvest, has just published the Security Yearbook 2020: A History and Directory of the IT Security Industry. It offers a well-written and extremely thorough look at the history of the cybersecurity industry. It’s also a fun, useful book.
Stiennon comes to the subject with serious authority. He’s been active in the field for decades, starting as a practitioner and later serving as an industry analyst. These experiences have given him insights into how the industry evolved and how it works today. The history is interesting, especially as big companies continue to acquire startups at a rapid clip. It’s easy to forget who started what and how one company morphed into another. Indeed, the Yearbook covers a dizzying series of mergers, restructurings, “spinoffs” and re-branding efforts.
One of Stiennon’s main points is that companies can lose their dominant positions easily if they cannot anticipate the next generation of threats. At the same time, the competitive dynamics of the industry make it quite difficult to jump between categories. Old players can get stuck in a rapidly-fading rut.
Industry luminaries have contributed their stories to the Yearbook. It’s a sponsored project, which is totally understandable in the current moment of book industry disruption. The Yearbook also provides a useful taxonomy of the industry as well a breakdown of each segment by size and geography. The rear part of the book contains a vendor directory.