THE area of cyber security
is currently headline news nationally and globally. Dr.
Clare Ryan is co-founder of one of Donegal’s foremost
protectors of information technology, ITUS Secure
Technologies. Based in the heart of Letterkenny’s tech
cluster at CoLab, they have established a solid and
growing customer base locally, nationally and
internationally since inception three years ago. This award
winning innovator has exciting plans for the future and
Clare talks about why they chose Donegal as their base,
the talent pool in the North West and advice for those
considering a career in cyber security.
‘’ITUS was Apollo’s protector in Greek mythology and the
only mere mortal to ever become a God’’ states Clare
when explaining the business name. It also provides
useful insight into the organisation’s mission, which is
all about examining the risk of IT systems for SMEs
(Small and Medium Enterprises) and putting in place
strategies and controls to protect them by reducing the
risk of a cyber attack, not unlike the principles
applied by their namesake in bygone times.
ITUS Founders, Paul Daly and Clare Ryan.
Clare and her co-founder
Paul Daly relocated to Donegal in 2008 and have somewhat
different professional backgrounds. With a PHD in
Science, Clare laughs when she outlines that she ‘’loves
all things GDPR, information management and governance,
not something you hear every day!’’
While her business partner Paul focused on the tech side
of business, having established a strong network within
the industry, they founded ITUS in 2018.
‘’There were a number of reasons for choosing Donegal
and specifically Letterkenny as our base. For us it’s a
great location to service customers nationally, it has
excellent connectivity, critical for our work and with
LYIT on our doorstep and other third level institutes
close-by there is a highly skilled pool of graduates to
chose from’’ explains Clare.
Support networks have also played a big part in the
growth of ITUS as Clare explains ‘’Since starting out
we’ve had fabulous support from CoLab, LYIT and
Enterprise Ireland in terms of accessing funding
streams, development opportunities as well as access to
international networks and clients. Also the informal
supports within the CoLab have been really beneficial.
There is a dynamic range of businesses in the Centre all
willing to support once another and something of a Team
Donegal approach in terms of collaboration’’.
A major milestone for ITUS came last year being crowned
Zurich’s Innovation Champion in Ireland for 2020,
testament to their work and business success to date.
Given the rapid pace of the cyber-security sector, it’s
no surprise that ITUS continues to evolve and pivot its
offering to support customers.
‘’When we originally set-up we were primarily focused on
professional service organisations and while still an
important base, we realised that they cyber impact is
reaching further and wider, oddly sole traders appear to
be impacted quite a lot by cyber incidents, so this
market is an increasingly big focus for us’’ says Clare.
The ITUS team outside their CoLab
So what next for ITUS,
Clare explains that there is still much work to do
around education piece for SMEs, to highlight the
potential impact that cyber security can have for their
business and the knock on effect for customers. ‘’We’re
also looking to develop bespoke software for the
insurance industry which will pave the way for future
business growth and market expansion’’.
The organisation has representatives working in Poland
and the US and in the next couple of years they plans to
significantly grow their workforce in their Letterkenny
Headquarters and beyond, drawing in from local talent in
LYIT, Ulster University and North West Regional College
Clare has also some words of wisdom for those seeking
out a career in cyber security: ‘’Get some work
experience as soon as you can to get a feel for the
industry and what area you want to focus on. There are
some phenomenal courses in LYIT that can then set you on
your career path. ITUS and many other employers in the
region are benefiting for the talent graduating in the