The Great Hack? Not On Our Watch
Northern Ireland has become a global cyber security hub, with specialist university research centres, innovative start-ups delivering global cyber security solutions and an impressive cluster of international cyber security investors - which is why it is the #1 international investment location for US cyber security firms (fDi Markets FT 2020).
According to the 2020 UK Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis Northern Ireland is a hotspot for cybersecurity firms, which includes leading international companies such as Proofpoint, IBM Security, Rapid7, Imperva, Microsoft, NVidia (Mellanox) and Synopsys. It is also home to a range of leading international growth companies such as Anomali, Contrast Security and Cygilant.
In addition to cybersecurity product development companies, Northern Ireland has also become an international investment location for US cybersecurity services projects, such as Allstate, CME and Citi who have invested in cybersecurity operations in Belfast. US insurance firm Aflac recently opened its Global IT & Cyber Security Innovation Centre, with 150 jobs.
Other global players such as PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, BDO, and BT all have significant cybersecurity operations in the region and have developed a range of solutions directly serviced from Northern Ireland.
The ecosystem in Northern Ireland also includes innovative locally grown firms, including B-Secur, Metacompliance, Titan IC (who were recently acquired by Mellanox/NVidia), SaltDNA, Skurio, Uleska, Seven Technologies and Liopa. Companies in the region deliver expertise on advanced persistent threats to national security, government, automotive, critical infrastructure, capital markets, legal, e-commerce, e-learning and child safety online and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic - healthcare.
But don’t take our word for it. UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) former CEO Ciaran Martin has said of the impact that the cyber industry has had on the region: “[It’s] a hugely positive development for Northern Ireland. It will bolster the digital resilience and strength of the whole community here.”
Northern Ireland provides a range of financial incentives and support schemes to encourage the growth of key sectors such as cybersecurity. This includes financial support to encourage employment, training and Research & Development.
A key differentiator for Northern Ireland is the Assured Skills Programme, which provides pre-employment training for an individual company entering Northern Ireland, or for a consortia of established companies.
Assured Skills is delivered by the local Universities and Colleges and provides bespoke pre-employment training for key sectors. Companies like Synopsys, PwC, Whitehat Security and Microsoft have used the programme for cybersecurity training, but the programme has also been used to deliver a wide range of technical skills such as data analytics, software testing, software development and DevOps.
Northern Ireland is also home to the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) a global flagship centre for cybersecurity. As a renowned global hub, CSIT’s meteoric rise as the UK’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) for cybersecurity has seen it develop into both a partner of choice for big-name multinationals and a dynamic motor of local growth. CSIT is recognised by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (Part of GCHQ) as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR) and as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE).
For all these reasons Northern Ireland has been identified within the UK Industrial Strategy as ‘fostering a burgeoning cybersecurity business and research community’.