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By Leo Valiquette

Earlier in November, the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warned that organizations must be more vigilant than ever against cybersecurity threats.

“Incidents are on the rise, and it’s something we all need to continue to pay attention to,” Jay Clayton said during a Power Lunch segment on CNBC.

With the pandemic, the monumental shift to remote working (and remote access) has only served to heighten the risk. While Clayton addressed a primarily American audience, this threat doesn’t recognize borders.

Of course, the response to the threat isn’t confined by borders either. Kanata North is a growing global technology hub for cybersecurity. Here a few of the great companies in Kanata North and the innovators who have chosen to call the area home.

Trend Micro

Trend Micro Inc. is a multinational that established itself in the National Capital Region in 2009 with the acquisition of Third Brigade. The company develops enterprise security software for servers, containers and cloud computing environments, providing automated security for marquee names like VMware, Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

Back in 2009, virtualization of server environments was a new industry and Third Brigade was quickly making a name for itself in virtualization security. With the acquisition of Third Brigade, Trend Micro established a centre of excellence in Kanata North. The local operation has continued to be at the forefront of securing enterprise cloud computing. It has evolved to deliver security from the cloud with SaaS model, to enable enterprise end users to secure their use of the cloud with tools that simply and automate the process. 

“The cool part of that is it’s a whole new mentality to deliver applications,” said Steve Neville, director of market strategy for Trend Micro. “The way security is now delivered is very different than the way it used to be. Organizations still need that perimeter protection, but they also need to be able to deliver security for all the ways that the cloud is being used.”

Interset/Micro Focus

In March of last year, Interset also became a local centre of excellence when it was acquired by U.K.-based IT firm Micro Focus.

Interset’s proficiency is in applying machine learning and behavioural analytics for cybersecurity. This has become an integral part of Micro Focus’s flagship ArcSight Intelligence product – a complete threat detection, analysis and compliance management security information and event management solution.

The Ottawa team is also pivotal to an ArcSight partnership that Micro Focus forged with another big player in the industry – CrowdStrike, which provides endpoint security, threat intelligence and cyberattack response services.

In the past year and a half, the local team has continued to expand, both in Kanata and overseas. The need to secure the growing use of enterprise cloud services has contributed to this growth.

“When you are a centre of excellence, all of these groups within the big company want to start working with you immediately,” said Steve McDougall, director of development. “We have built a backlog of where we could potentially have an impact on a number of different products, within and beyond cybersecurity.”

Corsa Security

Corsa Security bills itself as “the first turnkey network security virtualization platform to simply scale traffic inspection and automate firewall virtualization.”

Yuri Kolomiyets, senior director of technology at Corsa.

In an industry where entire multinational companies can be built around delivering just one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle, Corsa is providing customers with a one-stop shop for perimeter and network security.  It simplifies how enterprises expand traffic inspection, increase threat protection and automate firewall virtualization so that they don’t have to procure and manage a patchwork of products from different vendors.

Yuri Kolomiyets, senior director of technology strategy, said Corsa’s competitors are not so much other technology vendors. Instead, it is the status quo within enterprises, where internal IT teams may have engineered their own unwieldy DIY solutions.

“What we have done is look at the whole problem holistically to develop a turnkey solution,” Kolomiyets said. “We have brought together a team that can look at these pieces both individually and together and put that whole package together in a specific way so that the customer doesn’t have to take it apart and do things on its own.”

But why Kanata North?

Great companies are developing great technology all over the world. So why have these three innovators chosen to live and work in Kanata North?

Kolomiyets always found Ottawa a pleasant change of pace from Toronto when he visited. He moved here five years ago with his wife, who works for an NGO, to join Corsa. 

“The calibre of people and the innovation culture is something that I haven’t seen anywhere else,” he said of the Corsa team. As for the Ottawa area, “The environment, the culture, the people, and everything has just been a great fit for us.”

McDougall was drawn to the area during the telecom boom and found no reason to leave.

“There is such a strong industry and a solid infrastructure to support high tech that it just attracts people – a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said. “Ottawa also offers a bit of a choose your own adventure … it’s big enough that it has all you would expect in a big city, but small enough that you don’t (spend) hours getting out of the city if you want to.”

For Neville, it also began with the excitement of the telecom boom in the late ’90s. Through all that has happened since then, Kanata North remains home to a dynamic community of knowledge workers. He is confident that his tech-inclined kids will find plenty of career opportunities in the Ottawa area.

“As part of the journey I have been on I have been able to meet some spectacular people,” Neville said. “I have had opportunities where I looked at moving to California or Texas, but the calibre of talent that I get to work with every day made it a really easy decision to stick to Ottawa.”

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