At the dawn of internet it was apparent that we were about to enter a new age, an age where information and its efficient use would be the key to success. As we began to understand how to gather and use this information, the amount of raw information out there continued to grow. So, the biggest problems we faced were, where to store this information and how to protect it? Protecting information on networks virtually accessible to everyone was a challenge hard to overcome and US based cyber security firm Bishop Fox was one of the first firms to lead the charge for the same. As of 2023 they are considered the leaders in offensive security for almost two decades now.
The Global cyber security market size as per revenue has surpassed $173 billion as of 2022 and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR (Compound annual Growth Rate) of 8.9% to approach $266 billion towards the end of 2027. Therefore it came as a shock when a company considered to be a leader in such a lucrative industry decided to lay off approximately 13% of their entire workforce which amounts to roughly around 50 employees.
The fact that shocks most is that these job cuts came just days after the firm hosted a lavish party at the RSA cybersecurity conference, where they allegedly served several branded beverages and dubbed them “Cyber Soups”.
The spokesperson of Bishop Fox, Kevin Kosh did confirm that the company had reserved the event space for the party several months in advance for the purpose of hosting a day long event on live stream with the goal of sharing as much knowledge as possible with a larger community. Kosh however refused to reveal any figures regarding the expenditure on the aforementioned party. He also confirmed that the company had employed close to 400 people prior to the layoffs.
Bishop Fox Ceo Vinnie Liu gave the following quote, “We proactively made these changes in response to the global economic situation and opportunities we identified to make our business more efficient. While demand for our solutions remains solid and our business is stable, we can’t ignore the market uncertainty and investment trends in this very different global economy. Bishop fox remains healthy and we continue to be bullish about our growth and technology investments over the coming quarters and years.”
According to the reports, the employees who have lost their jobs claim that the layoffs were “unexpected.” Others claimed that the layoffs were a result of internal restructuring within the organization. This incident however surprising isn’t unique as just last month another US-based software firm Amplitude laid off 13% of their work force which roughly amounts to 99 employees, a decision they attributed to tough macroeconomic conditions.
As we observe this disturbing trend of major tech companies going for massive lay offs out of the blue, it is possible that the motivations behind these layoffs are to increase the efficiency of their workforce. The Power law distribution or the pareto principle states that for many outcomes, roughly 805 of the consequences come from 20% of the causes. Here the 20% are considered the vital few. This principle is usually applied in marketing where people believe that 80% of a firm’s profits are earned from 20% of their customers, however many people are starting to believe that the same may apply to the workforce of a firm. 20% of a Firms employees are responsible for 80% of the firms productivity, as more and more Tech firms try to refine their workforce with maximization of productivity in mind, is it possible that they will be successful in proving the above stated hypothesis and find the “Vital Few” among their employees that are capable of increasing their firms performance with a much smaller workforce than before? This might be the next workplace efficiency dilemma that ethicists have to deal with.