US SaaS vendor Alert Logic has become the latest firm to open a security services facility in South Wales to anchor the firm's monitoring for customers across the continent. Does that means this part of the UK is becoming a new tech hub?
Situated on Central Cardiff's Enterprise Zone and complimenting a small data centre in nearby Newport, the Security Operations Centre (SOC) will be used to consolidate threat data as well as analyse intrusion detection, web application firewall anomalies for its cloud services. Customers also get log management and vulnerability assessment services. The SOC is expected to create 135 jobs in the next three years.
"2014 has been a key year for us and our expansion plans, and a fully operational security operations centre to meet the needs of our European customers is another major step forward," said Alert Logic CEO, Gray Hall.
"IT teams are not resourced to adequately respond to the marked increase in security and cyber-attack threats. "The opening of our new European SOC enables us to be closer to our European customers, delivering them continuous protection, and deep security and compliance insight, no matter where their IT resides, whether it's in the cloud, on-premises or in a hybrid environment," he said.
There is huge national competition to attract firms looking to open such centres and of course the reported £1.15m Welsh government business finance grant will have helped Cardiff's case leading up to the original announcement in April.
But there is some evidence that South Wales is also becoming a hub for this kind of business, with another services company, CGI (formerly Logica) announcing a security centre of its own last week.
Within striking distance of the M4 corrodor but cheaper from a business perspective, this part of Wales is also well supported by universities with a good reputation in computer security such as the University of South Wales.
It remains early days - most of South Wales' current stock of security and IT firms are either long established or have a connection to defence. Attracting firms with a footprint in cloud technology will be key.
"The fact that we have been able to attract and recruit such a large number of highly skilled employees from its initial inception seven months ago, to being fully operational, is testament to the ambitions of the Welsh Government, City of Cardiff Council and the surrounding Universities to cement the region as a UK hub for Cyber security," echoed Alert Logic's EMEA vice president, David Howorth.
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