Growth ambitions for Northern Ireland cyber security industry2 min read

13/May/2019

In recent years, Northern Ireland has become an increasingly important location for the cyber security industry in Western Europe. Indeed, according to a recent presentation from a leading Northern Ireland academic, it currently employs almost 1,700 people and is on course to generate over £70m in salaries each year!

Speaking recently at the ninth World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit, Professor Máire O’Neill of Queen’s University Belfast said: “With the unrelenting pace of digital adoption, the role of cyber security has never been more significant. Its importance to our lives and livelihoods is increasing exponentially and those with the skillsets to contribute to this vital societal need will always have a place in the new economy.”

The Summit – which took place on May 8 and 9 – was hosted by the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), the UK’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre in cyber security, which is based at Queen’s University Belfast’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT). O’Neill is principal investigator at CSIT.

As part of its mission to work with industry, CSIT provides academic and engineering support for the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (Lorca), which is aimed at helping startups to scale their organisations at pace and to access and grow into new markets, secure further investment, and recruit and retain the best talent.

Looking to the future, O’Neill said CSIT has “exciting plans” under the theme of ‘secure connected intelligence’, with research planned in the areas of privacy-preserving distributed analytics, supply chain security and hardware Trojan detection, resilience in industrial control systems, artificial intelligence (AI) for cyber security, and inconspicuous security through smart network technologies.

Building on the current 1,700 cyber security jobs in Northern Ireland, O’Neill said CSIT has worked with the government to set a target of 5,000 cyber security professionals in Northern Ireland by 2030.

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