Spokane Journal of Business

Cybersecurity, workforce top concerns for tech

Computer jobs expected to outpace employment growth in Spokane area

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Cybersecurity, privacy and data storage, technology workforce issues, and cloud migration are among the top tech concerns businesses are expected to face in the new year, says Heather Stratford, founder and CEO of Drip7 Inc., a Spokane-based cybersecurity awareness training platform.

“Many of these issues we’ve seen recently and are going to be highlighted as people become more aware of them in 2023,” Stratford says, adding that cyberattacks likely will continue at a high level in the new year.

A data breach report released Dec. 6 by the Washington state Attorney General’s Office states that breaches remain historically high, with 150 breach notifications received this year—the second highest amount behind 2021 and double the average number of breaches reported from 2016 to 2020.

As a result, demand for cybersecurity services will continue to grow in 2023, she says. Such services include knowledgeable information technology staff, managed service providers, and managed security service providers.

She suggests companies seek out local providers for such services.

“Look for local service providers rather than going to California, Salt Lake City, or Seattle,” she says. “We have many good MSPs and MSSPs locally that can service.”

Dusty Miller, president and co-founder of Spokane Valley-based managed service provider NDM Technologies, says he expects significant growth in the continued migration of office-based applications to the cloud, which is being driven by insurance companies that are looking for businesses to minimize risk by moving applications from their physical offices.

Miller explains that hybrid employment and remotely managed security solutions also will continue to increase in 2023 along with security awareness training to stay ahead of bad actors. He adds that video surveillance technology is another area expected to grow in the new year.

Finding enough workers to meet his business’s needs has been challenging this year.

“We’ve been actively looking for cybersecurity staff,” says Miller, whose company has 30 employees. “We haven’t had a single walk-in of someone looking for work in the last five years. And online it’s not much better,” he says.

Mike McBride, business and industry analyst at Spokane Workforce Council, says the technology industry workforce is changing with fewer remote job postings and recently announced tech industry layoffs creating an uncertain labor climate going into 2023.

“Tech layoffs going on are getting a lot of noise, but we’re not seeing huge layoffs here yet,” McBride says. “Remote jobs are less available than they were in the summer.”

McBride says computer-based jobs increased 5%, or about 208 jobs, in the past year in Spokane County, for a total of 4,758 computer-based occupations.

Computer-based jobs are expected to increase by about 3%, up to 4,909 jobs next year, he adds.

“That’s slightly better than overall job growth in Spokane, which is about 2% next year,” he says. “Computer occupations are continuing to grow a little faster than the overall economy, but it’s definitely slower than it has been in prior years. It’s kind of normalizing as our computer occupation base grows larger.”

Erica Bullock
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Reporter Erica Bullock has worked at the Journal since 2019 and covers real estate and construction. She is a craft beer enthusiast, who loves to garden and go camping with friends.

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