ICC Belfast will host CYBERUK on 19 & 20 April 2023
In recent years Belfast has emerged as a cyber security hub with international security firms such as IBM Security, Rapid7, Imperva, Contrast Security and Cygilant choosing to base European operations in the city. As the team at ICC Belfast prepares to host around 2,000 in-person delegates for the UK government’s flagship two-day conference, CYBERUK, the destination continues to build a reputation as a global cyber security capital.
Northern Ireland's cyber security sector
The current cyber security ecosystem in Northern Ireland consists of over 100 companies including leading international firms Allstate, Aflac and Citi. Other global companies including PwC,Deloitte, Ernst & Young, BDO, and BT have significant cyber security operations in Belfast and have developed a range of safe and secure online solutions directly from these local offices. The region also houses a world-leading cyber security innovation and knowledge Centre for Secure Information Technologies, (CSIT) which is based out of Queen's University. CSIT undertook research into the sector and found that nearly four in five (79%) jobs in the NI cyber security sector are supported by firms headquartered outside of Northern Ireland.
In order to attract international business, innovation and collaboration opportunities, NI Cyber, Northern Ireland Cyber Security Centre, was created. This initiative includes a diverse range of sectors including finance, banking, insurance, legal, telecoms, threat intelligence, defence, security and healthcare all with the goal of keeping Northern Ireland cyber safe, secure and resilient.
In February 2023, the UK government announced its plans to create a new ‘Cyber-AI Hub’ in Belfast following an £18.9 million investment package for the region’s cyber security sector. The Cyber-AI Hub will be located at CSIT and has been hailed as a major step in helping to further develop Northern Ireland’s cyber security industry.
Belfast’s thriving tech scene
There are many reasons why Belfast is quickly becoming a global tech destination as it continues to expand its infrastructure, capacity, and capability. Its tech scene is varied with specialist growth in key tech sectors such as AI data and analytics, cyber security, sports technology, and IT and cloud services.
Unsurprisingly, Belfast has been identified as one of the world’s top Tech Cities of the Future. More than 25% of all available jobs in Belfast are tech-related and according to a report by the Digital Economy Council, in terms of value, Belfast is the second best place in the UK for tech workers to live. It’s easy to see why so many workers are willing to move to Belfast between the opportunities within their areas of expertise and the beautiful landscape which surrounds the capital.
Northern Ireland isn’t just attracting tech expert expats. World-class talent is also being inspired closer to home. Beginning within our education system which shows that Northern Ireland A-Level students perform 2.5% above the UK average A*- E grade in computing. Further support in the development of a sustainable pipeline of talent, includes the Department of Education NI STEM Strategy which is helping empower future generations through science, technology, engineering and mathematics to grow a dynamic, innovative economy.
In summary, the city's thriving tech scene can be attributed to a blend of world-class talent, tech research excellence and highly competitive salaries alongside high standards of living as well as attractive R&D incentives.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Northern Ireland connections
As a proud Northern Irish woman, I am delighted to see our flagship CYBERUK conference come to Northern Ireland for the first time, recognising its position as a global cyber security hub.
“Belfast will be a fitting host for what promises to be a great event and an essential opportunity for the cyber security community to work together towards securing an open and resilient digital future.”
The NCSC supports the Government’s commitment of 5,000 cyber security professionals in Northern Ireland by 2030 and the £2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy which is protecting and promoting the UK online and making the digital economy secure for people and businesses. This cyber network has already started to excel with locally grown firms such as Salt Communications, B-Secur, Metacompliance, Skurio, and LoughTec making a significant impact within the industry.
Emerging technologies for our digital future
Emerging technologies will feature prominently at next month’s CYBERUK conference. The 2023 theme of ‘securing an open and resilient digital future’ will undoubtedly bring together national and international speakers, world-class leaders and technical professionals from the wider global cyber security community.
CYBERUK will explore how the UK’s current cyber ecosystem – a sector worth £10 billion to the economy – can improve, collaborate and transform in order to resist the threats and keep the UK the safest place to live and work online.