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A V-LINC Analysis of the Irish South West Cyber Security Ecosystem

Published: 1 September 2020


This paper represents a collaboration between the Cork Institute of Technology and Cyber Ireland who partnered to apply V-LINC to the Cyber Security specialisation in the South West of the country.

IDA Ireland (2018) believes Ireland’s second city ‘Cork’ in the South West is a hidden gem for Cyber Security. There are close to 60 overseas technology companies in Cork, in manufacturing, software development and global business services. More than 1,000 people work in the Southern region (Cork and Kerry) either with pure-play cyber security companies or others with specific security teams. Trend Micro was the first pureplay security company to set up in Cork over 15 years ago, and now it employs over 250 people. McAfee employs more than 350 people at its Cork site, which includes a security operation centre and engineering team. Others in the region include Cylance, Malwarebytes, eSentire, JRI America, AT&T Security, Sophos, TransUnion, and Keeper Security. Since 2013, pure-play firms have announced 850 jobs in the SouthWest.

The paper begins with an explanation of V-LINC, a methodology which records, categorises, and measures the business importance of linkages that cluster firms participate in, along with the facility to show linkages on geographic maps of appropriate scale. Linkages (Figure 1 - see page 2 of report) between firms and other organisations are at the heart of how clusters function. Linkages are defined (Hobbs, 2010; p 221) as “relationships that enable exchange of goods, services, personnel, information, ideas, expertise, grants and other supports to business that occur between two or more parties, over a sustained time period.” Next, the paper comments on the scale of the Cyber Security industry in Ireland and the South West, then reviews findings from V-LINC analysis on the linkages of a sample of cyber firms in the South West. The analysis includes: the distribution of linkages by category, by geographic scope, and by their business impact as recorded by company employees who engage in the linkages. V-LINC maps illustrate the linkages at different geographic scopes. Arising from the analysis, the paper closes with recommendations on how to strengthen and support Cyber Ireland.