Waterloo has a long-established reputation for innovation in security. Our researchers helped invent elliptic-curve cryptography, which helped keep the world secure for the last 15 years. Blackberry, a company known primarily for building the world’s most secure smartphones, was founded here. Today, Waterloo is home to more than 50 security companies committed to making the world a safer place.How did this ecosystem come to be? Waterloo is home to Canada’s top technical institution – the University of Waterloo – boasting Canada’s #1 Computer Science program, a large suite of cryptography courses and research centres, a leading quantum research centre and the world’s largest collection of math and computer science talent.
This is a community that was built to help companies innovate and grow in security. That's why local tech giant BlackBerry just announced a $1.4 billion acquisition – making it one of the world's largest cybersecurity firms – and eSentire – a fast-growing local security company – just announced $47 million in new investment.
Want to find out which security businesses are operating in Waterloo? We’ve made it easy. Just download our 2019 Waterloo Security Cluster Map – this free high-resolution PDF identifies all of the known players in Waterloo’s ecosystem:
How we categorized our diverse security community
There’s a lot happening in this map, so let’s break it down.
As you might expect, categorizing companies across an entire ecosystem – offering an incredible range of products and services – isn’t easy. Most businesses fit in multiple categories, and defining the categories themselves is a challenge. We asked each business to choose one category where their product or service fit best, knowing that most companies could easily fit in several categories.
Here’s how we broke them down:
Cryptography – Companies in this category are focused on encryption and the creation of techniques for secure communication. This category includes numerous quantum technology companies, including ISARA.
Risk assessment/threat detection – This category captures companies that evaluate networks, identify potential security threats, and monitor physical spaces for the purpose of identifying threats.
Cybersecurity – Companies in this category focus on technologies, processes and controls that are designed to protect systems, networks and data from cyber attacks. A few local examples include Google, eSentire, IBM, Arctic Wolf and Magnet Forensics.
Embedded security – These companies – including Blackberry – focus on the reduction of vulnerabilities and protection against threats in software running on embedded devices.
Blockchain – Companies in this category leverage a digital ledger in which secure transactions made in cryptocurrency are recorded.
FinTech – These companies – including Oracle and Interac – focus on the use of technology to advance and improve financial activities.
We also thought it’d be helpful to list research labs, networks and commercialization hubs that support this security business community. Our list of research labs includes the RBC Cybersecurity Lab, Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research and the Institute for Quantum Computing. Security networking groups include the Security B2B and Internet-of-Things Waterloo, among others. Finally, commercialization hubs includes the world-renowned Communitech Hub, the world’s largest Internet-of-Things manufacturing space – Catalyst137 – and the Accelerator Centre, which is one of the world’s top university-linked business incubators.
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