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Have a London cyber security firm, will travel? Why not expand into Scotland? It’s the UK’s largest financial centre after London with over 600 financial and business firms and around 1000 tech companies.

Grow your London cyber security firm in Scotland


The time has come. The stage is set. Scotland’s thriving cyber security scene is riding on the crest of a wave. It’s here for the taking. Never before has there been such an ideal opportunity for London fintech firms to grow and succeed on the strength of Scotland’s growing dominance in cyber security. Its proven pedigree in financial services and digital technology make the location a leading light in pioneering cyber security, research, innovation, technology and skills. And it is expected to generate 15,000 jobs by 2026, reports Strathclyde Business School.

In his role as Cyber Security Network Integrator, Martin Beaton is actively involved in uniting Scotland’s cybersecurity community, bringing together many intermediaries, academia, government, research organisations and incubators. 

Discover how your firm can thrive in Scotland

Representing both PwC and Scottish Enterprise in Scotland, Martin says: “Cyber security firms outside Scotland can benefit from massive commercial opportunities by tapping into the wealth of expertise and talent here. Scotland has a tremendous abundance of tech talent, over 600 financial and business service companies, the UK’s second largest and most self-contained financial hub and the greatest number of startups after London.”   

Scottish Enterprise is investing heavily in Scotland’s network of cybersecurity integrators, and has  created a strong cyber community to unite events, awards, organisations and academia – all of which are a catalyst for the sector to flourish in Scotland. 

So how can London cyber security firms benefit from expanding into Scotland? 

  • Around 80,000 people work in the digital technology sector
  • Some 15,000 students graduate with qualifications from financial or technology courses
  • Five Scottish universities run dedicated cyber security courses, with another five undergraduate and nine post graduate courses on offer, including GCHQ certification 

1. You can benefit from countless cyber propositions by investing in Scotland

As one of the largest European financial centres outside of London, Scotland already has strong links with commercial institutions in the capital. Many organisations are moving functions to Scotland due to its ‘nearshore location’, with a cost-base that is significantly lower than London’s. 

It offers viable and diverse commercial opportunities for London cyber security firms. Whether your company intends to expand outside the capital, outsource services from Scotland or simply wants to exploit new markets, the country is a foundation for business, offering:

With new challenges and opportunities in the global banking, insurance and asset management sectors, Scotland’s industry cluster of cyber security expertise and training is growing.

It’s already home to a number of dedicated cyber security companies, with its universities offering many globally-renown cyber security qualifications. Scotland’s long-standing strength in the financial services and digital tech sectors put it ahead of the game when it comes to cyber security.

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While Edinburgh leads the field as Scotland’s digital tech centre, Glasgow is recognised for its growing pool of software developers. Dundee has a successful track record in computer games development. This city has created a fusion of cyber security and games technology to achieve a new learning environment for industry and the public sector to tackle the cyber challenge.

Six Security Operations Centres (SOCs) already operate in Scotland, a number that is increasing. It includes major global companies in financial services and other organisations with a global understanding of cyber security:

Over 15 Financial Institutions carry out cyber security activities in Scotland. There are also a number of SMEs and Solutions Providers with specialist cyber expertise such as Avaloq, Hewlett Packard and Oracle. Between them, these companies employ hundreds of cyber security experts in Scotland. (Source: Deloitte Research 2016)

2.  Scotland equals cutting edge UK cyber security innovation

Scotland is poised for inward investment into its thriving and innovative cyber security sector. Major players, such as Cisco Systems and Lockheed Martin, have a long-established presence, and companies such as 7Elements, Seric and Truststream are growing fast.

Cyber security firm Zonefox, a spin-off from Edinburgh Napier University, uses innovative software to monitor and record online activity to detect security breaches in real time. The firm focuses on real time identification of ‘insider’ threats, and concise reporting of this data for analysis and action.

To grow the industry, existing financial services organisations in Scotland are constantly looking for new technologies to adopt, while new suppliers have an active community of large global players on their doorstep that they can engage with.

3. It costs up to 40% less to run a regional office in Scotland than in London


True. Operating costs and overheads are a major concern for any London cyber security and fintech wanting to grow their operations, which is why Scotland is a major drawcard. According to the Financial Times FDI Benchmark Report, it costs up to 40% less to run a regional office in Scotland than in London.

Whether your fintech business is in banking, investment management, asset servicing, or insurance, Scotland offers great potential for business owners, directors and entrepreneurs to grow or service their financial services companies.

You could save £5000 per year on average salaries

And staff salaries will cost you less too. According to Payscale.com, average salaries in London compared with Edinburgh are £40,752 versus £35,784.

 4. Your business is spoilt for choice with cyber security talent

The statistics speak for themselves: Every year, over 15,000 students graduate in Scotland from courses related to technology.

Scot cyber graduates in numbers

  • Engineering and technology - 9,875
  • Information technology - 4,815
  • Mathematics - 1,125

After London, Scotland is rapidly becoming the second most accomplished UK location for producing high calibre and qualified cyber security graduates. Complementing its wealth of existing digital talent, Scotland is already up-skilling for the future, with five Scottish universities running dedicated cyber security courses, and five undergraduate and nine post graduate courses on offer. Even in its high schools, Scotland is teaching offensive and defensive cyber security in a nationally-recognised qualification (NPA) in Cyber Security.    

Dundee’s Abertay University was the first in the world to offer an ethical hacking degree, with many universities now offering a variety of cyber security courses both at under and post graduate levels.

Leading skills centres include:

Launched in 2015, CodeClan fast-tracks the provision of coding skills for digital businesses. Its Digital Academy provides BSc and Masters programmes to deliver work-ready graduates who have the skills to meet the changing demands of this fast-paced sector. Scotland’s universities collaborate with industry partners, as demonstrated at the Virtual SOC (Security Operation Centre) at Edinburgh Napier University, which provides facilities for organisations to deliver cyber security testing in a safe and controlled environment.

Other bespoke MSc and Doctoral programmes in data science are being developed through dialogue with industry. With existing talent on tap, and new graduates emerging, Scotland has the skills and knowledge to help cyber security businesses succeed.

Grow your London cyber security firm in Scotland

5. Many cyber security hands can make light work of your fintech ambitions

Scotland’s reputation as a nation of innovators and inventors is not lost in its dynamic and well-honed cyber security sector. Its academic organisations form partnerships with each other, the private sector and the Scottish Government. Across the country, a range of innovative cyber security collaborations are already taking place, including Code Base, the Whisky Bond, E-Spark and mygov.scot’s Cyber Security Early Stage Accelerator Programme:

The Data Lab

Scotland’s key data science innovation centre supports local industry, both large and small, to ensure staff have the relevant skills to apply data science in their workplace

Cyber security research

Cyber security research is carried out across many Scottish universities, which are joined together through the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA), CivTech and the burgeoning number of accelerators and incubators in Scotland.

Industry / academia engagement

Edinburgh Napier University’s Cyber Security Academy provides engagement between industry and academia on cyber security related matters. University of Edinburgh has its Centre for Cyber Security and Privacy.

Co-ordinated approach

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre co-ordinates public and private sector cyber security issues.

Martin Beaton adds: “Cyber security firms wishing to expand into Scotland have seldom been faced with a more exciting and excellent opportunity to take their business forwards. There is now a common vision for the Scotland to help organisations surpass their commercial ambitions.

“The country is big enough to make a difference and small enough to be agile. Scotland is now reaching a watershed moment when it can become the UK’s leading location in cyber security innovation and research. It is now reached a perfect storm. Cyber security is at a critical mass.”

6. We can give you unparalleled support to grow your London fintech in Scotland

The future for growing your cyber security business is bright. The future is Scotland.

Scottish Development International (SDI) can help your organisation in many ways to grow and succeed in Scotland, including training grants, links to recruitment agencies and TalentScotland; property and profile support, visits to Scotland and continued support.

Once your company is established in Scotland, SDI continues to offer close support. An account manager will be available to assist you in the settling in process and we will ensure your company continues to prosper and grow in Scotland, receiving ongoing assistance and advice.

The secret to expanding in Scotland is a click away