Ireland is cementing its reputation as an international security hub after four companies announced 400 new cybersecurity jobs in the Emerald Isle in the past three weeks.
Yesterday, American insurance company Aflac Incorporated announced that it will be opening a new Global IT and Cybersecurity Innovation Center as part of a multimillion-dollar investment in Northern Ireland.
Belfast has been chosen as the location of the new center, which will create 150 new jobs over the next five years, with an average salary of $55,500.
“We conducted extensive research in Europe to identify a location that not only has the expertise in IT development and cybersecurity to support our business strategy, but also complements our company culture. We believe we have found that here,” said Virgil Miller, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Aflac US.
Belfast has also been chosen as the location of Contrast Security‘s new development and delivery center. The DevSecOps company’s new facility, announced at the end of September, will bring 120 new jobs to the local economy.
Cybersecurity firm MetaCompliance said on September 30 that it would be creating 70 new jobs in the Northern Irish city of Derry as part of a $5.5 million global expansion plan. The new positions will focus on developing cloud-based solutions for the cybersecurity learning market.
Also in September, American cybersecurity consulting firm Security Risk Advisors opened its European Headquarters and Security Operations Centre in the southern Irish city of Kilkenny. The site will create 52 jobs over the next five years.
This year’s growth in Ireland’s cybersecurity sector follows reports in December 2018 that cybersecurity firm Imperva would be creating a new base in Belfast that would generate 220 new jobs.
Invest Northern Ireland has played a key role in this flurry of investment, supporting Imperva’s new base with £1.4m, the MetaCompliance expansion with £695,000, and the new Contrast Security center with £786,500 of assistance. The company also offers support through its Skills Growth Programme.
With so many new jobs being created, the only thing that could prevent Ireland from becoming the biggest star on the international cybersecurity stage is a lack of housing and skilled labor.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner after the FutureSec conference in Cork on September 24, Ronan Murphy, CEO of multinational cybersecurity firm SmartTech247, said: “The housing crisis is seriously affecting our ability to scale. We’re building our own very sophisticated AI and machine learning which we will distribute globally. It’s pretty cool that we’re doing it from Cork, but there’s nowhere to live.”
Also speaking to the Irish Examiner post-conference, Koos Lodewijkx, vice president of IBM, which has offices in Dublin, Cork, and Galway, said: “It is a challenging time, and staffing is still in short supply. We would like to expand, but it’s hard to find employees.”