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Titan IC keeping homes and firms free from viruses

By John Mulgrew

Published 09/06/2015

Godfrey Gaston heads a tech spin-out team of 18 from Queen’s University
Godfrey Gaston heads a tech spin-out team of 18 from Queen’s University

Titan IC Systems is a Belfast firm which is leading the way in high-speed cyber security - and counts no less than some of Silicon Valley's biggest names among its customers.

A tech spin-out from Queen's University, it now boasts a team of 18 people - headed by Godfrey Gaston (50).

And it's one of only a handful of firms in the world developing technology which analyses internet network traffic at high-speeds, ensuring malware and viruses don't get through.

It's already planning to double the workforce in the next two years, with its first major hardware product - Hyperion - launching at the end of this month.

Titan IC also just secured an additional £850,000 of investment from Belfast-based investors techstart NI and Co-FundNI, with the cash going towards expansion.

Starting off life back in 2007 within the university, the company finally got really under way around three years ago.

"It's difficult to explain, but we have developed a board product, an accelerator card which does high-speed analysis of network traffic," Mr Gaston (below) said.

"We check each packet for malware and viruses - we compare the traffic against known signatures."

Mr Gaston began his foray into the field after studying a degree at Queen's, followed by a PhD at the University of Edinburgh and, finally, an MBA at Henley Business School.

And he returned to Queen's, where he's been for the last decade, to head up the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT).

The company - which is based at the Northern Ireland Science Park - is working hard at attaining the so-called Holy Grail of bringing clean, and virus-free internet into businesses and homes. "It will never be completely free, but we are talking more and more about having clean pipes, like water," he said.

And while Mr Gaston wouldn't reveal some of Titan's biggest customers, many are well-known Silicon Valley tech firms.

"Our customers would be in Silicon Valley and, primarily, those companies who make firewalls and intrusion detection systems that filter out malware," he said.

"We've developed a card that's part of a bigger appliance - it's a sub-system within an appliance."

And around 75% of Titan IC's staff are Queen's graduates, most at a PhD level.

"We are looking to take on some more engineers, and in the customer support side in the next six to 12 months," Mr Gaston added.

"We plan to double the size of the company in the next 12 to 24 months."

In next week's SME Focus, car valeting company Total Perfection

Belfast Telegraph

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