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Scotland: A Flourishing Cyber Sector

Scotland has a thriving and innovative cyber security community which is flourishing year on year. What was once a niche area within the tech industry, is now integral to everyone and everything as we move towards a more digitally enabled society. There is no better time to look at how Scotland’s cyber security economy has grown and Cyber Scotland Week, which runs from 22nd-28th February 2021, will showcase what the nation has to offer.

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The Scottish cyber cluster currently includes around 230 cyber security companies, nearly half of which are Scottish founded companies, or a company headquartered in Scotland. This is a high growth area within the wider tech sector. In each of the past five years around 10 new Scottish cyber companies per year have been set-up. Inward investment into Scotland remains strong too, with more and more global cyber security companies choosing to establish in the country. Edinburgh has been identified as a “cyber hotspot” in the UK and both the city and the country is attracting talent from across the UK and wider global market.

University spin outs remain an important source of growth, including recent spin outs of Lupovis, which is a spin out from Strathclyde, PRC from Glasgow University and Napier University spin out, Memcrypt. While most of the Scottish scene is made up of relatively small companies, 20% of the cyber cluster are larger corporations. This is a dynamic market, with many of the smaller companies and spin outs actively seeking investment and partners. Cyber monitoring and analytics company, Adarma, is a case in point which has grown from a start-up in 2009 to employing over 250 people last year. It was also named in the Financial Time’s Fastest Growing Companies Report 2019. Other key home-grown talent includes 7 Elements and Cyan Forensics, to name but two.

Scotland’s cyber expertise has also been steadily developing across Higher Education. The University of Glasgow was the first University in Scotland to offer specific cyber related courses back in 1999. Today, some 70% of Scottish universities offer courses in cyber security.  Scottish universities have a number of cyber security firsts, such as Abertay University in Dundee which had the first Ethical Hacking degree course in the world. Abertay University and Edinburgh’s Napier university have recently received Gold or Silver awards respectively from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in recognition of their excellence in cyber security education.

Scotland’s cyber community has much to celebrate as we reach its annual festival. While the pandemic may have created economic uncertainty, the societal switch to digital means that cyber security has never been more vital, and Scotland’s cyber cluster is likely to continue to go from strength to strength.

About the author

ScotlandIS

The home of expert software, telecomms and IT services businesses, our members will help you optimise your ICT investment.

ScotlandIS, the trade body for the ICT industry, has a remit to raise the profile of the industry, lobby policy makers on relevant issues and support our members.