Financial expert: Invest in cybersecurity stocks

A data breach can have long-term effects on a company's share values — potentially weighing down their financial results for years — which offers a unique investment opportunity, writes financial journalist Ryan Derousseau for Fortune.

Cybercrime costs the global economy between $450 billion and $600 billion each year, and companies will spend an estimated nearly $86.4 billion on security services in 2017 — a number that is expected to rise to $108.2 billion in 2020.

Although cyberattack victims are clearly losing out, cybersecurity firms are reigning supreme, Mr. Derousseau writes. 

Here are three key players whose stock Mr. Derousseau recommends keeping an eye on.

1. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Palo Alto Networks offers a firewall that controls data flows throughout a company's corporate infrastructure. Recently, the company began transitioning to a subscription model. Its subscription and services revenues now comprise 62 percent of its sales, up from 44 percent in 2014.

2. Check Point Software Technologies, an Israeli company with U.S. headquarters in San Carlos, Calif., recently launched a security platform called Infinity, which targets enterprises moving toward cloud storage. The company noted a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 20.4, Mr. Derousseau writes.

3. San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco Systems laid off 6,600 people over the past year in an effort to focus its services on security, and it recently entered into a partnership with Apple to develop an iOS control tool for enterprise cybersecurity teams. Although cybersecurity makes up only 4 percent of the company's revenue, it is one of the company's fastest growing segments — Cisco's total revenue has dropped the last seven consecutive quarters, Mr. Derousseau writes.

More articles on cybersecurity: 

New version of Locky ransomware hits computers worldwide

WannaCry ransomware returns, hits LG in South Korea

Report: Top 10 malware families in July

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