Qld e-security vendors unite to lift profile

Impressed by growth rates in the IT security sector, the Queensland Government is helping a constellation of small e-security companies create a higher, collective profile.

It has launched a Queensland E-Security Cluster to improve cooperation between individual companies and reap the competitive advantage of collaboration, says Innovation and Information Economy Minister Paul Lucas.

Small in terms of individual company size, the State's e-security sector collectively generates significant statistics.

It directly employs more than 500 people in Queensland, according to figures compiled by the Government's Information Industries Bureau.

Overall, 196 Queensland-based companies count some component of e-security in their core business.

Of e-security companies surveyed, 90 per cent were currently engaged in R&D on products and services, Lucas said.

The cluster's formation will help foster the necessary skill base to aim at a leadership role for Queensland in the e-security area, he said.

The Government's role will be one of facilitator and its backing is expected to give the cluster more market gravitas than members could achieve individually.

"The idea is to ultimately improve our bottom lines by giving the e-security industry a higher profile and better access to market information and to opportunities within government," says David Manfield, general manager of security firm Spyrus Pty Ltd.

Parent company Spryus Technologies is a Silicon Valley firm whose Asia-Pacific headquarters are in Brisbane and Manfield was one of the guiding forces behind formation of the cluster concept.

Its focus is not on joint technology ventures but on business development and generally raising the profile of Queensland's e-security sector, he says.

Besides Spyrus, other founding members of the E-security Cluster include veteran data security company Eracom, the Information Security Research Centre headed by Dr Bill Caelli and Wedgetail Communications.

A recent spinoff from Distributed Systems Technology Centre (DSTC), Wedgetail's product suite includes solutions aimed at the embedded Java and network device markets.

As part of its product suite, the Wedgetail developers have created 'micro' versions of cryptographic and authentication solutions including 'micro PKI' and a comprehensive Java security toolkit.

It is backed by a cash injection of $3.3 million from investors Allen & Buckeridge and Uniseed, a joint venture between the commercial arms of the University of Queensland and Melbourne University.

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