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Cyberfort secures future after buy and build

 

Cyber security has never been as critical. In a world currently fighting a global pandemic, the need for companies to secure sensitive data and keep their systems safe from a cyber-attack is vital.

The industry is still however a fragmented sector. There are a myriad of companies offering cyber security services but very few can offer a truly end-to-end proposition providing ultra-secure hosting, penetration testing, 24/7 threat detection as well as consultancy and compliance.

Cyberfort was founded by CEO Andy Hague and, in just under three years with the backing of Palatine, he has achieved his vision of building a full-service cyber security business that is second to none and that uniquely possessed four very specific areas of capability in a secure hosting facility, a penetration testing service, a Security Operations Centre (SOC) and a compliance & consulting operation.

In July 2017, Palatine backed a management buyout of The Bunker, one of the leading providers of ultra-secure IT services to mid-market firms.

It was the first acquisition under the newly created Cyberfort Group and kicked off an ambitious buy and build strategy. Under Andy’s leadership Cyberfort hit the acquisition trail to acquire leaders in the data security industry.

In early 2018, cyber security testing business, Arcturus, became the second company to join the Cyberfort Group. Arcturus was the result of a conscious decision by the Board of Cyberfort to build a world-class penetration testing business using their existing expertise and extensive personal networks. This was further reinforced by a comprehensive analysis of the M&A market producing nothing that would demonstrate either a value enhancing acquisition or a cultural fit. The decision to build Arcturus was reinforced by it subsequently becoming the fastest entity to ever achieve both the coveted NCSC CHECK and Industry CREST accreditations.

Palatine has been a forward-thinking investor and has played a pivotal role in helping to build Cyberfort into the best in the business.

Andy Hague
CEO, Cyberfort Group

A few months later, Cyberfort bolstered its ranks with the acquisition of cyber security consultancy Agenci. Agenci specialised in IT security consultancy and provided strategic guidance to clients to help them meet legal and regulatory compliance requirements. This acquisition was timed to complete as the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force giving Cyberfort the ability to assist new and existing clients with GDPR compliance.

The final piece of the jigsaw came in March last year with the buyout of Auriga which brought not only a proven public sector consulting capability and reputation, but also an internally developed Security information and event management (SIEM) application which would go on to form a key part of the SOC that Cyberfort was internally developing.

“There are companies out there that offer some of the services we do but none that can offer the complete range of services like Cyberfort. Our aim now is to establish the Cyberfort Group brand in the marketplace through organic growth.

“We have recently launched a new website and are working on launching our security operation centre which monitors the threat to our clients 24/7.”

Andy is also aiming for Cyberfort to become an ‘employer of choice’ in the market. The industry has a huge skills gap due to the lack of trained workers in the marketplace. And for those who have the necessary skills, they command high salaries.

Andy says he has a plan to resolve the problem however he is keeping it up his sleeve for now. With his skill of completing a buy-and-build strategy that has seen him acquire the ‘best in breed’ at ‘sensible prices’ in a volatile M&A market with crazy valuations, there is little doubt he will achieve his goals.

Cyberfort has also been relatively immune to the current Covid-19 pandemic. The Cyberfort team work remotely and the company has seen a spike in enquiries from potential clients.

Andy says: “We are a critical service provider which has offset any attrition and didn’t have any exposure to clients in some of the worst hit sectors such as retail and leisure. Obviously, we have the same challenges as other business in keeping staff motivated whilst working from home but we offer products and services which are beneficial in the current environment. Also, we have found that when a three-year renewal has come up, all clients have rolled over their contracts – nobody is moving.

“When Coronavirus hit in March, I ripped up our sales and marketing plan for 2020 and replaced it with one for April, May and June. It is online based with webinars etc and targeted to groups of 20 to 30 who have specific issues.

“What we do can be very bespoke. Therefore, in terms of signing up new clients, we would ideally need to be in a room with them to establish tailored solutions to their individual needs which we cannot do right now. However, many of our produts and services are highly suited to supporting any business either moving to, or operating in, a remote working environment. As such, whilst I expect the larger more complex solutions to gain more traction post lockdown, there is a real demand for some of the very specific offerings right now.

Cyber security services will continue to be in high demand and, with the buy-and-build strategy now complete, Cyberfort is perfectly placed to support businesses at all stages of the security cycle.

Andy says that Palatine took a huge leap of faith when it backed his vision in 2017. “The team bought into my strategy to grow the business through acquisition and organically. M&A activity in the sector is huge and valuations can reflect that. Making sure we have bought the right businesses at the right prices at the same time as developing the Cyberfort brand has been key.

“Palatine has been a forward-thinking investor and has played a pivotal role in helping to build Cyberfort into the best in the business.”

For more information on how Cyberfort can help with your cyber security need, call 01635 015600 or visit www.cyberfort.com