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US-based Fortinet to open new cybersecurity tech hub in Calgary

BusinessUS-based Fortinet to open new cybersecurity tech hub in Calgary

The hub looks to address the cybersecurity skills shortage.

California-based cybersecurity company Fortinet plans to invest $30 million CAD to create a cybersecurity technology hub in downtown Calgary. 

According to Forbes, the gap between global demand and cyber workforce capacity was 3.4 million people in 2022, an increase of 26 percent from 2021.

The Government of Alberta’s Innovation and Growth Fund will provide just over $3 million CAD in grant funding to support the new hub while Fortinet will invest the remaining funds from its private sources, Fortinet told BetaKit in an email statement. Invest Alberta and Calgary Economic Development are providing strategic support to establish the hub, which will include a data centre, a training facility, and a “centre of excellence.” 

The hub aims to address a talent and diversity gap in the cybersecurity sector with Fortinet’s cybersecurity training curriculum and collaboration with post-secondary institutions, such as the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, the University of Alberta, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. 

Fortinet expects to secure space in downtown Calgary, acquire equipment, and start hiring immediately, the company said in a statement, noting it intends to add more than 100 staff by the end of 2025.

“Our expansion in Calgary directly contributes to creating valuable employment opportunities and advancing cybersecurity capabilities in the region,” Fortinet vice president of talent Joyce Chow said in a statement. “Our vision extends beyond providing industry-leading security products and services; we aim to continuously innovate and cultivate cybersecurity talent through comprehensive training and development programs.”

Alberta wasn’t the only candidate for Fortinet’s investment, reported Global News, but provincial support helped land the hub in Calgary. In addition to the grant, Invest Alberta connected Fortinet with available incentives and introductions to the local business community, while Calgary Economic Development will be providing strategic development support. 

Fortinet added that the current 20 percent annual employee growth rate in Alberta also made an ideal location for the facility.

RELATED: Rogers and RBC commit $16 million to Cybersecure Catalyst

The cybersecurity industry has been working to address its talent gap as cyberattacks become an increasing concern. 

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, the RCMP, and Global Affairs Canada have all experienced cyberattacks since the beginning of the year, Global News reported, with Canada’s security and privacy research chair, Natalia Stakhanova, saying that larger data breaches are occurring more often.

According to Forbes, the gap between global demand and cyber workforce capacity was 3.4 million people in 2022, an increase of 26 percent from 2021. There’s also a concerning diversity gap, with Black, Hispanic, and Asian people making up less than 20 percent of the cybersecurity workforce and holding fewer leadership roles. 

Similar cybersecurity programs have already been established in Canada. 

French multinational tech company Thales Group announced plans to establish a cybersecurity hub in Fredericton, NB last April as a place for small businesses, academia, and the broader regional ecosystem to collaborate, and develop cyber skills. 

The Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, a cybersecurity hub run out of Toronto Metropolitan University, has been active since 2018 and received $16 million in renewed funding from its founding partners Rogers Communications and RBC in November. 

Feature image courtesy Calgary Economic Development. 

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