ON Tuesday, Scotland’s “top cybersecurity firm” received £2 million from Scottish Enterprise, the country’s national economic development agency. While it may not be as famous as some of the companies it helps protect, Adarma’s trajectory since its founding 13 years ago has been skyward.

Adarma CEO John Maynard is determined to see the company go from strength to strength. Previously leading the Global Security Sales Organisation (GSSO) at US technology conglomerate Cisco, Maynard was brought in to lead the company as it eyes the international market.

What type of firm is it?

Adarma bills itself as “the UK’s leading independent cyber security company”. Founded in 2009, the Edinburgh-based business started with fewer than 10 employees. Fast forward to 2022 and it’s now at more than 330 employees – with plans to expand beyond that.

What does Adarma do?

Adarma started out providing cyber threat management services to large banks based out of Edinburgh.

Maynard told the Sunday National: “In Edinburgh and Scotland there’s a very high density of large global companies in financial services, oil and gas and utilities.

“The company started back in 2009 providing very high-end cyber services to large complex banks, headquartered and run out of Edinburgh.”

Since then, the company has evolved from advising clients to running security operations for them.

Adarma continues its consultancy services but increasingly runs engineering operations and 24/7 security management for UK firms.

Which companies does Adarma protect?

WhileAdarma wouldn’t disclose all its clients, it represents large businesses in the world of retail, banking, financial services, air travel, oil and gas and insurance. These include companies in the FTSE 100.

All in all, the company works with around 50 clients from medium to large companies.

Adarma is particularly strong in financial services and insurance, with the two industries making up around 50% of its business.

“What we’re trying to do now is take our experience in working with financial services and insurance companies and help other industries,” Maynard said.

“So we’ve been expanding into transportation, energy, utilities, oil and gas, manufacturing, the public sector and healthcare.

“These are typically industries that are under attack from a cyber security perspective.”

What will the £2m investment from Scottish Enterprise be used for?

Adarm plans on using the £2m cash injection from Scottish Enterprise to create 50 new, high-skilled jobs in Scotland and accelerate its research and development.

This, Maynard said, will bring cybersecurity innovation to companies across the UK as Adarma works with more and more firms.

What makes Adarma different?

“What customers want is a high cyber expertise – and Adarma provides that,” Maynard said.

“We are the best in the business. Our staff are the most technically trained in the industry.

“We have a wealth of accreditation in numerous technologies. We have a very capable team and the experience of [working with] the most complex customers. Not a lot of companies can say that.”

Maynard said unlike bigger, global firms who have a hand in cybersecurity, that’s Adarma’s sole purpose. “We live and breathe cybersecurity,” he said. “We don’t do anything else.”

Is Scotland a good place for cyber security?

Maynard said the UK is an underserved and fragmented market from a cyber security perspective. But Scotland is leading the way in many ways with diversity in the industry and tight links with universities.

He said: “There’s good investment in the Scottish market. We think the pool of talent in Edinburgh is fantastic. We have very close ties with Abertay University, Edinburgh Napier University and other universities to bring talent into Adarma.”

Maynard also praised initiatives such as women in cyber security – something he said “Scotland is leading the way on”.

A strong culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing, along with strong investment is something that puts Scotland in a “really strong position as a cybersecurity hub”.

What are the challenges?

NOT all industries have to worry about organised crime or even state-sponsored hacking but those are the types of attacks Adarma is built to protect its clients from.

Maynard explained: “You have a highly motivated, highly equipped, well-funded adversary on the other side, whether that’s organised crime, whether that’s state sponsored espionage or whether that’s for political gain. So you have this thing that no other industry has.

“That’s what makes the cyber security industry completely unique other industries.”

What lies ahead for Adarma?

EXPANSION. Adarma is eyeing up not just more business outside Scotland but beyond the British Isles too.

Maynard said: “We support global customers. We support high-growth, agile customers. Lots of those have footprints outside the UK so increasingly they’re asking us to support them outside the UK. So we want to invest in growth in the UK but we also want to internationalise.”