Mounting data and national security threats have transformed cybersecurity investing from a relative backwater into a robust field in which public offerings can provide a handsome return.
Companies that predict when and where hackers will attack and ward them off—including FireEye, Barracuda Networks, AVG, Proofpoint, Qualys and Palo Alto Networks—went public within the last two years. There were 62 cybersecurity acquisitions or IPOs in 2013 and 99 in 2012, according to research firm CB Insights.
But investing in cybersecurity companies, whose success can depend heavily on landing key government or corporate contracts, isn’t for the uninitiated.
The Information identified the grizzled veterans who have watched companies’ privacy and security needs grow over the last several years as attacks have become increasingly sophisticated and more publicized. A recent spate of data security breaches at retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus rattled consumers. The role of technology in national security is also being hotly debated publicly amid revelations of controversial National Security Agency data-collection programs.