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Cyber Security worth ‘£60m in salaries’ in Northern Ireland

The cyber security industry is on course to generate salaries of £60 million per annum in Northern Ireland, Queen’s University’s Professor Sir John McCanny has revealed during a major Summit in Belfast today.

Industry leaders, start-ups, SMEs, government policy makers and researchers from around the world have come together for the Centre for Secure Information Technologies’ (CSIT) 7th World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit.

For researchers and technologists the focus of the event is security for a future digital society but for the commercially minded, the growth of new cyber security companies and the positive economic impact of the industry is top of the agenda.

CSIT, which is the UK’s lead university centre for cyber security research, is based at Queen’s University Belfast’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT).

The cutting-edge cyber centre has also today announced that Direct Line Group PLC, the UK's largest retail general insurer, owning brands such as Direct Line Churchill and Green Flag, has become a Full Member and official partner of CSIT.

Speaking at the event, Professor Sir John McCanny commented: “This is an exciting time for the growing cyber security business sector in Northern Ireland. The economic impact of this industry in terms of the local economy is now significant, with estimated salaries alone now being close to £60 million per annum.

“At CSIT we are at an inflection point in our development. The industry is seeing significant growth which we are supporting through our internationally leading research and innovation activities. This is also helping in the development of the next generation of industry leaders to address the widespread demand for cyber security professionals and technologies. The shortfall for this is currently estimated to be between one and two million people globally.”

CSIT works with many high profile industry partners to shape and direct its research agenda so that it has strong commercial and societal impact. Partnering with Direct Line represents a further expansion of CSIT’s reach into the insurance and financial services sector.

The arrangement will allow Direct Line to benefit from the Centre’s research knowledge and innovation and both parties will work together to develop board-level training around cyber resilience, awareness, desktop exercises and simulations, ensuring that Direct Line is equipped to tackle cyber security threats and events.

Robert Duncan, Chief Information Security Officer for Direct Line, commented: “We are pleased to announce a partnership with CSIT, one of the top cyber security research clusters in the European Union.”