The Growing Businesses (And Opportunity) Of Hacking… The Cloud… And Outer Space

While everyone was preparing to fire up the grill last weekend, hackers were busy at work.

Last Friday, a group of hackers compromised the operations of Kaseya, an IT software management based out of Dublin. In a statement, Kayesa said fewer than 60 customers were directly compromised by the attack, yet up to 1,500 businesses were affected by the downstream affects.

The perpetrators behind the attack may sound familiar. Remember the Colonial pipeline attack? How about the meat processor JBS?

REvil strikes again. This time around, the Russian-linked group demanded a $70 million ransom in cryptocurrency.

This is clearly part of a much bigger problem. Ransomware attacks are becoming more and more common. In fact, Chainalysis estimates that up to $400 million was paid to known ransomware addresses in 2020, a jump of 337% over the previous year.

But it’s not just large companies getting scammed. And it’s not just ransomware attacks, either.

It’s regular Americans that are getting scammed, too.

The FBI released its 2020 Internet Crime Report earlier this year, and the findings are nothing short of alarming.

According to the report, Americans were scammed out of an estimated $4.2 billion last year. The most common frauds were phishing scams, non-payment/non-delivery scams, and extortion.

Source: Statista

This brings us back to a major theme we’ve been harping on for years. In fact, my colleague Jimmy Butts over at Top Stock Advisor has been talking about it since at least 2017.

To quote from a piece Jimmy wrote a couple years ago:

There’s no denying that cybercrime will continue to be a growing industry… and companies that are in the business of protecting the internet and our data will continue to grow.”

This is one of the most obvious investing opportunities staring us in the face right now. Some names to consider include: Splunk, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, FireEye, CyberArk Software, CrowdStrike, and more…

There’s also the PureFunds Cybersecurity ETF (NYSE: HACK) if you’re not interested in picking winners and instead simply want to ride the trend.

The Cloud Is Still Growing

Speaking of big trends that are still going strong, Jimmy has been spending some time talking about how the process of moving business to “the cloud” is just getting started.

In a recent piece, Jimmy showed a chart of the incredible performance of some of the big early players in the space:

But as he pointed out, this trend is just getting started. New players are entering the game practically every day, and practically each one has something new to offer that we didn’t know we needed before.

Not only that, but the cloud has barely touched small and mid-sized businesses. But that’s changing fast. Here’s Jimmy with more…

More often than not, a business’s first interaction with its customer is no longer the old-fashioned handshake or face-to-face interaction. Today, those interactions happen digitally or virtually.

That first impression is going to come from your company’s website, social media account, or perhaps an online marketing campaign, which then will lead to your website.

In today’s world, having a good website is a must… But it’s also just the first step in a long list of technology needs. And that list of technology needs can be overwhelming.

It’s filled with complicated acronyms like CRM, ERP, SCM, HCM, SaaS… and then there’s “the cloud.” If you’ve been busy working on your business and haven’t stayed up to date with the latest technological trends, then you’ll quickly be left behind.

And for many small-and-mediums-sized businesses (SMBs) that’s exactly what’s happened.

Estimates have it that there are over 100 million SMBs worldwide, many of which haven’t the slightest clue that they could leverage technology to streamline many processes in their companies, which would save time, cut costs, and improve margins.

As Jimmy points out, the process of transitioning from a legacy system to the cloud can be daunting for even a large company. Many mid-sized companies are just beginning this process. But let’s say you’re a successful local business owner. You run one of the biggest HVAC companies in town – a business you started 15 years ago.

You’re going to need a sophisticated website than can handle sales leads, create a funnel for customers, and connect them with technicians who can set appointments. Maybe you’ve heard about Salesforce, but that’s just scratching the surface.

Multiply that by a few million, and you start to wrap your head around how big a deal this really is.

As it turns out, Jimmy identified a company that helps bridge this gap by serving as a “consultant” that helps companies as they begin to transition to the cloud to grow their business.

I won’t reveal the name of this recent pick today, but the larger point here is this…

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ve missed the boat on big gains from “the cloud”. There’s still plenty of meat left on the bone…

The Space Race Heats Up…

On a final note, the new space race will heat up in a big way this Sunday. In case you missed the news, billionaire businessman Richard Branson will be launching into space.

The flight will take Branson and five other passengers about 55 miles up into the air, where they will experience weightlessness for a few minutes before returning to the Earth.

The flight will be Virgin Galactic’s first to carry a full crew, and is already being hailed as a milestone in the burgeoning commercial space travel market. As the previously linked article from Reuters states:

If successful, Sunday’s flight will also give Branson bragging rights to besting rival Jeff Bezos and his space company, Blue Origin, in what has been popularized as a “billionaire space race.” Bezos, founder of online retail giant, is slated to fly aboard Blue Origin’s suborbital rocketship, the New Shepard, later this month.

Your move, Bezos.

Keep an eye on this new space race as it develops. While it will certainly be exciting to watch, it’ll be even more interesting to see the new opportunities this creates for investors. We’ve already talked about Elon Musk and his accomplishments with Space X. In fact, we have an entire report dedicated to one of Musk’s “secret” projects – including a “backdoor” way to invest that could make investors a lot of money as this race develops.

Go here to check it out now.