Technician in Google data center
A technician works inside a Google data center in Oregon. Photo courtesy of Google

A new report produced with the respected Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm finds that San Diego’s cluster of cybersecurity firms is successfully leveraging artificial intelligence to rapidly identify and resolve security threats.

San Diego’s cyber cluster accounts for 24,349 local jobs across 874 firms, has an annual economic impact of $3.5 billion, the study found, and is growing rapidly thanks to defense-related projects.

“It should come as no surprise that San Diego is at the heart of transforming the defense industrial base leveraging today’s latest technology, while working to mitigate the risks inherent to increased connectivity and data-centric decision making,” said Jennie Brooks, a senior vice president at Booz Allen.

The report, “Securing the Future: AI and San Diego’s Cyber Cluster,” was underwritten by Booz Allen and authored by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.

Among the key findings of the study:

  • Cyber firms are developing AI solutions at a rate 2.5 to 3 times the regional average.
  • AI has generated “unparalleled productivity gains,” enabling the cyber sector to grow by 7.5% since 2018 — nearly triple the average for all San Diego industries.
  • AI is producing jobs, not eliminating them. Some 61% of cyber businesses plan to hire more workers over the next year.
  • Talent shortages abound, prompting the region’s colleges and universities to expand their course offerings in cybersecurity and related areas.
  • Nearly 3 in 5 local cyber firms work directly or indirectly for the federal government.

“A deep relationship with AI, close ties to defense, and thriving base of IT professionals have afforded San Diego County’s cyber cluster considerable growth advantages,” the study concluded.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.