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Here’s a hub for global cybersecurity expertise – and it’s not where you think

Ken Finnegan
Leading global security software providers have European-scale operations in Ireland.

An unexpected location is making a serious case as a worldwide centre of excellence in cybersecurity: Ireland.

Cybersecurity activity in Ireland covers a thriving ecosystem, from multinationals at the cutting edge of cloud and mobile security, to indigenous companies working in a range of industries and with a variety of technologies, to academic research and education in computer forensics, privacy, network analysis and security analytics software.

A 2016 report by consultants Deloitte found that Ireland ranks as a potential location of choice for global cybersecurity activity with other well regarded hubs including Israel, Canada, Australia and India.

Many of the leading global security software providers already have European-scale operations in Ireland, including Symantec, Trend Micro, Qualcomm, McAfee, eSentire, AlienVault, and Malwarebytes. IBM started in Ireland more than 60 years ago carrying out low-skilled manufacturing jobs. Now one of its largest development centres in the world is in Dublin, working on areas including cybersecurity and cognitive computing.

By seeding the earliest technology companies in Ireland and helping them upskill, software engineering has become a great capability in the country. And cybersecurity companies moving to Ireland can take advantage of that in many of the functions they carry out," says Ken Finnegan, chief technologist with IDA Ireland."

Academically, Ireland has one of the highest graduates and enrolments in mathematics, science and technology in among 28 EU Member States.

Another advantage for Ireland is the cross-pollination from other industries like financial services. Citi, MasterCard, DocuSign and PWC carry out work in areas ranging from secure payments and development to risk and compliance activity.

Malwarebytes is an award-winning security software company that established its EMEA headquarters in Cork in 2015. Only three out of the first 25 recruits at the site were Irish-born; the rest were foreign nationals who had been living there for some time. "There’s a tremendous amount of diversity," says the company’s founder and CEO Marcin Kleczynski.

"There are so many great companies here, such as Trend Micro, FireEye, McAfee, VMware, and on top of that, EMC/RSA and Apple. I certainly think Ireland has the credentials to say that it is a cybersecurity hub," Kleczynski adds.

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