A US cyber security firm has set up a base in Northern Ireland with the creation of 65 new jobs, it announced today.
Cygilant, which is led by chief executive Rob Scott, already has offices in Vancouver and at its base in Boston.
But Mr Scott said it had chosen Belfast as its first location outside the US due to the strength of its talent pool and the cluster of cyber security firms already here.
The company has already recruited 25 people - all of whom are homeworking - and plans to have a total of 65 in place in two years time.
It started out at the city's Ormeau Baths before signing up for the Centrepoint building in Ormeau Avenue.
It was based there for just a few weeks before it moved to homeworking in March.
Staff at the firm will be paid average salaries of around £43,000.
The new global security operation centre (SOC) in Belfast will provide security monitoring services to around 200 customers.
Mr Scott told Business Telegraph: "We needed a presence in Europe to help with our tech requirements, but the second reason that we came here is the talent pool.
"Our competitors are here in Belfast and we have students coming out of the universities with cyber security degrees."
The investment in Belfast is supported by economic development agency Invest NI.
Mr Scott said he had worked in many other European countries including Finland, Ukraine and Scandinavia but that Belfast had seemed the best choice for investment.
The firm is one of Northern Ireland’s first dedicated cybersecurity-as-a-service providers.
Economy Minister Diane Dodds welcomed the investment. She said: “In these challenging times it is welcome news to be able to announce new cybersecurity jobs for Northern Ireland.
“Cygilant provides a cloud-based security monitoring service for mid-sized enterprises, essentially becoming their ‘eyes and ears’ for cybersecurity monitoring and compliance,” she said.
“This is an important endorsement of Northern Ireland’s growing reputation for excellence in cybersecurity.
“The company’s new security operation centre will house an information security team responsible for monitoring, analysing and responding to cybersecurity incidents on customers’ behalf,” the minister added.
“The new team will include SOC engineers and cybersecurity advisers (CSA) at different levels of experience, with salaries that are competitive in the market.
“The company has already secured its permanent base in Belfast’s city centre and recruited 25 of the roles, with hiring efforts continuing over the next few years.
“When fully operational, this investment will deliver nearly £2.8m in annual salaries to the Northern Ireland economy.
“The project will also make a significant contribution to the technology and, in particular, the growing cybersecurity sector in Northern Ireland.”
Invest NI offered £455,000 in support towards the jobs.
Mr Scott said: “The city is also quickly becoming an innovation hub for technology companies including a growing cybersecurity sector, so all the pieces just fit nicely together.
“We are thrilled to be here in Belfast and in the short time since we’ve started operations, we are already seeing the impact the team is having on our business.”
Cygilant employs over 100 staff globally. Its key sectors include finance, education, healthcare and retail. Any new staff for the Belfast operation will join the company from home.
Mr Scott is described as a “30-year technology industry veteran” and is originally from Manchester.
He started out as a Formula 1 race car driver, but moved into business, launching his first start-up at age 25. He is also a member of the board of directors of Avidbank, a business bank.
Mr Scott now lives in the US state of Maine.