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2023 showed cybersecurity isn’t immune from brutal layoffs
January 8, 2024

2023 showed cybersecurity isn’t immune from brutal layoffs

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Despite a rise in cyberattacks and breaches, the cybersecurity industry is by no means exempt from the uncertainty inspired by the current economy.

The cybersecurity sector was once largely untouched by the vast headcount reductions taking place across the wider industry, but 2023 shows no sector is immune. Cybersecurity is not the worst affected sector — that unfortunate accolade appears to have been claimed by the transportation industry. But it’s clear that cybersecurity firms are no longer exempt from layoffs, despite a strong workforce and an ever-increasing number of cyberattacks and breaches.

According to data from layoffs tracker, more than 110 cybersecurity companies have made cuts since the beginning of 2023. We’ve rounded up some of the most notable.

Sophos cuts 10% of global workforce, or 450 employees

Bishop Fox made ill-timed cuts after throwing conference party

Cybersecurity firm Bishop Fox laid off around 50 employees, or 13% of its workforce, in May — just days after the company threw a party at the RSA security conference featuring custom-branded beverages. Bishop Fox, which counted approximately 400 employees prior to the cuts, said at the time that it ‘proactively made these changes in response to the global economic situation and opportunities we identified to make our business more efficient.’ The company claimed that while demand for its cybersecurity products remained solid, ‘we can’t ignore market uncertainty and investment trends in this very different global economy.’

NCC Group conducts two rounds of layoffs months apart

Rapid7 laid off hundreds of employees, shutters offices

Rapid7, a similarly established U.S. cybersecurity firm, also announced job cuts in August. The company announced plans to lay off 18% of its workforce, affecting more than 400 global employees, which it said was a necessary effort ‘designed to improve operational efficiencies, reduce operating costs and better align the company’s workforce with current business needs.’ At the time, Rapid7 — which describes itself as a ‘hybrid-first’ organization’ — said it also planned to permanently close certain office locations as a result of the restructuring.

Bug bounty giant HackerOne makes cuts ‘necessary’ for long-term survival

August also saw sweeping layoffs at HackerOne, a widely known bug bounty and penetration testing platform. The San Francisco-based startup announced that it was cutting up to 12% of its workforce, or approximately 50 employees, impacting staff based in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and other countries. HackerOne raised close to $160 million since its inception in 2012, but blamed the cuts on the macroeconomic climate. ‘These actions are necessary to be successful long-term,’ HackerOne CEO Mårten Mickos said in an email to affected employees, calling the workforce reduction a ‘one-time event.’

Malwarebytes let go of 100 employees ahead of company split

IronNet shut down after extensive layoffs

IronNet, a once-promising cybersecurity startup founded by former NSA director Keith Alexander, laid off all of its remaining staff as it prepared to shutter the faltering business in October. In a regulatory filing, IronNet’s president and chief financial officer Cameron Pforr said the company had ceased all business activities as it prepares for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, effectively liquidating the company’s remaining assets to pay its remaining debts.


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