Bird Construction highlights the need for security
On 26 January, Ontario-based Bird Construction acknowledged that it had been the victim of a recent ransomware attack.
Speaking with CBC News, an anonymous spokesperson for the company said that “Bird Construction responded to a cyber incident that resulted in the encryption of company files. Bird continued to function with no business impact, and we worked with leading cybersecurity experts to restore access to the affected files.”
Although it appears, on this occasion, that the damages have been limited by Bird, this revelation highlights the absolute necessity for businesses to maintain effective cybersecurity to protect data.
Emphasising this crucial requirement is a report by IT World Canada, which found that 2019 was amongst the worst years for Canadian organisations falling victim to cyber-attacks.
Top three cybersecurity companies in Ontario
It is fortunate that, although the country is experiencing difficulty managing cyber-threats, the Ontario region is a leader in developing cybersecurity solutions that safeguard against hackers and provide increased protection.
Herjavec Group: Canada’s largest IT security provider and one of the fastest-growing overall tech companies in the country, Herjavec started from humble beginnings in 2003, maintaining a staff of just three employees.
It is now generating revenues in excess of CA$200mn per year and has taken the top spot in the annual Cybersecurity 500 three years running. Robert Herjavec, the Founder of the company, was also invited to take part in the White House summit on cybersecurity in 2015.
Blackberry: Headquartered in Waterloo, the tech giant is maintaining a strong presence across several aspects of the industry. However, Blackberry has particularly focused on security in recent years, particularly in its application within the automotive sector.
A recent announcement was covered by Business Chief in early January, when the company exhibited the hybrid of QNX and Blackberry Cylance at CES 2020:
Cylance is a unique tech solution that uses AI to solve problems before they arise, sometimes as much as 25 months in advance. The software, configured to ‘learn’ and ‘improve’ in perpetuity, is able to predict the patterns of malware and take appropriate action.
eSentire: Prioritising speed of response when dealing with an attack, eSentire aims to start investigating a breach within seconds.
Partnering with CrowdStrike at the end of 2019, the company hopes to improve its Managed Detection and Response (MDR) capabilities and extend its leadership in the cloud-delivered security services.
Commenting on the collaboration, CEO Kerry Bailey said, “The relationship is focused on our combined go-to-market and innovation, which brings together the best security expertise and global security operations centers in the industry to support our joint customers.”
For more information on business topics in Canada, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief Canada.
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M&A activity key lever for future tech sector growth
Despite the continuing uncertainty of the pandemic, the tech sector has witnessed soaring dealmaking activity over the past year, rocketing in the second half of 2020, with the last quarter of 2020 a record one for M&A activity, and momentum continuing into 2021.
Dealmaking in tech sector soars in past year
And the latest figures bear this out with the number of technology M&A deals totalling US$208.44bn globally in Q1 2021, according to GlobalData. While the US holds top spot both in volume of deals (1034) and total value (US$140.61bn), Europe ranked next with 649 deals (US$44.49bn) with the UK continuing its reign as Europe’s biggest M&A market with 204 deals.
In particular, megadeals – those valued at US$5bn or more – soared in 2020 representing 59% of all global technology sector deal value in 2020, up from 47% in 2019, according to the latest edition of the EY Technology Global Capital Confidence Barometer.
This tech sector trend towards megadeals is backed up by EY’s CCB data, with 16% of tech sector respondents planning to pursue transformative deals valued at US$5bn or more in the near-term.
While technology deal activity “all but stopped at the beginning of 2020 after fluctuating between historic highs and lows, companies pivoted quickly and tech M&A exploded in the second half of the year”, says Barak Ravid, EY Global TMT Leader for Strategy and Transactions.
M&A activity level for tech sector growth
Looking ahead to the future, technology executives are optimistic, with nearly half (47%) expecting profitability to fully rebound this year, according to CCB data, compared to 23% across all sectors, and with more than half (51%) planning to pursue M&A in the next year in order to sustain growth.
According to Ravid, M&A activity is increasingly becoming a key lever for growth as businesses look to recover.
“To position themselves for future revenue growth, tech companies are now adjusting their M&A strategy to focus more on a target’s business resilience, digital technology alignment and to gain market share through consolidation,” says Ravid.
However, with an increasingly competitive deal market and ongoing geopolitical tensions, the majority of tech execs expect to see more competition in the bidding process for assets over the next year, primarily from private capital.