IT firm scaling up
Network ROI targets security market in plan for expansion
Adam Johnson: ‘boards need to get their house in order’ (pic: Terry Murden)
IT services company Network ROI is scaling up its operations as it tackles growing security issues such as the spread of ransomware and the mis-use of cryptocurrencies.
The Edinburgh-based firm is embarking on a three-pronged strategy that will see it work more closely with client companies, including those facing a growing risk of exposure to the onslaught of cyber attacks.
It will provide more on-call support and offer IT directors ‘for hire’ as it plots expansion of its services, including connectivity, telecoms and consultancy across the UK.
Adam Johnson, managing director, said security is becoming a bigger part of its operations as firms of all sizes suffer an increasing threat of deliberate and increasingly sophisticated forms of disruption.
“The number of attacks shows no sign of slowing…they are using ransomware to undermine companies , many of them paying up. It’s a growing problem and the onus is on boards to get their house in order,” he said.
Hackers include teenagers who are easily able to download ransomware tools from the internet, while bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that was meant to become an online currency, has been adopted by criminals to a point where some companies now block the word from their communications systems, including email.
Other digital currencies such as monero, designed to avoid tracking, have become more popular among criminals as law enforcers adopt software tools to monitor those using bitcoin.
Network ROI, which became the first employee-owned managed services company two years ago, now has a staff of 50, mainly at its Roslin head office, with a growing team in Newton-le-Willows in northwest England.
Mr Johnson, 51, joined the company in 2006, three years after the company was formed by Sean Elliot who decided in 2017 to transfer ownership to the employees. He stayed on as chairman.
There really is a northern powerhouse thing going on– Adam Johnson
The company now serves firms of all sizes from four to 4,000 employees, in all sectors and across the UK. They include about a hundred in Mr Johnson’s native northwest England.
“Manchester in particular is booming,” he said. “There really is a northern powerhouse thing going on, helped by people like Andy Burnham [mayor of Greater Manchester and former Labour Cabinet minister] who is business focused.”
As he expands the firm’s footprint, Mr Johnson said he was working on plans for at least one other office “somewhere between Birmingham and London”.
Since the change of ownership turnover has grown from £3.6 million to £5m this year and is expected to rise to £5.6m next year.