US firm Alert Logic chooses Belfast as base to fight cyber crime

Finance Minister Mervyn Storey (left) with Alert Logic's Gray Hall (chief executive) and Kimberley Bowron (senior vice-president of talent management). Photo: Simon Graham/Harrison Photography
Gary McDonald Business Editor

AN American-owned cyber security firm has set up shop in Belfast, where it intends hiring 88 staff on £44,000-a-year salaries by the end of next year.

Alert Logic, which is headquartered in Texas, offers cloud-based Security-as-a-Service, a platform of fully managed products and services designed to keep a customer’s data and infrastructure safe.

It has set up its base at Weavers Court at a time when cyber crime against businesses in the UK is continuing to grow.

According to a recent study by Hewlett Packard, the average annualised cost of cyber crime to large organisations in the UK is now £4.1 million per year, a year-on-year increase of 14 per cent.

Recruitment firm Manpower says demand for specialist cyber workers has increased fourfold over the past year, with the best cyber security experts being paid more than £10,000 a day as big businesses spend ever-larger amounts to remain protected from online attacks such as those recently against TalkTalk, Sony and JD Wetherspoon.

Alert Logic, which is benefitting from £572,000 of financial support from Invest NI, said Belfast was an attractive location for the business (it has already recruited 30 people) given the ready availability of a strong pool of talented people.

Its chief executive Gray Hall said: “Opening our new Security Research and Technology Development centre here not only puts us physically closer to a number of our customers and prospective customers but this new centre will complement our existing centres in Cardiff and Houston and support our ambitious growth plans, particularly in the US, Europe and Asia markets.”

Finance Minister Mervyn Storey described Alert Logic as "a very welcome addition to Northern Ireland’s growing portfolio of global ICT firms", adding that its decision to locate to Belfast will contribute nearly £4 million a year in salaries."

He added: “Northern Ireland is well placed to capitalise on the major growth in the cyber security sector. We have recently successfully attracted a number of leading cyber security investors including Proofpoint, Whitehat and Rapid7.

"Northern Ireland is fast becoming a global cyber security hub, with a growing base of local firms and specialist university research centres, including the Centre of Secure Information Technology at Queen’s University.”

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