Going from strength to strength with the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

We’ve experienced incredible growth at Cognisys in the last 12 months – we’ve seen new hires, amazing new clients and a brand new sales academy. Now thanks to the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, we’re able to continue this growth into 2023 and beyond. With the help of a six-figure figure from Mercia Asset Management, which is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), we plan on scaling up our operations to be able to support even more organisations on the frontline of cyber crime.

We specialise in penetration testing or ‘ethical hacking’, helping organisations to identify their vulnerabilities before an attack takes place. We catch the vulnerabilities before the bad guys get chance to. In addition to the remote testing, we also carry out ‘red team’ exercises which test an organisation’s defences by mimicking real-life cyber attacks including finding ways to breach security at the premises. To give you an insight into the level of our testing we carry out – along with our ISO 27001 accreditation support, Cyber Essentials support and desk-based cyber vigilance exercises, our team successfully gained access to a company’s IT system by visiting the premises posing as Openreach engineers. In another exercise at a Scotch distillery, we entered the premises by booking on a whisky tasting tour and were able to walk into the offices and remove equipment by pretending to be IT support.

Cognisys was established in Halifax back in 2019 by Steve Spence, who previously founded Wakefield-based IT business Servatech which he sold to Pure Data Solutions in 2014, and Arjun Pednekar, who had worked for global cybersecurity group NCC and had also run his own consultancy.

In 2020, we not only moved to Leeds but also opened our very own SOC (Security Operations Centre) in Manchester. We have been fortunate to double in size each year and currently employ 18 staff across both sites, serving clients which include some of the largest companies in the world. We expect to double our revenue again in the next financial year and create a further eight to ten jobs.

Steve had this to say, “Every day businesses are brought to a standstill, held to ransom or have funds stolen by cybercriminals who have breached their system. Popular access routes at present include buying stolen passwords on the dark web or tricking employees into clicking on a link in an email. However businesses are starting to wake up to fact that cyber attacks can happen to any firm – large or small. At Cognisys, our mission is to help businesses of all sizes to improve their security.”

David Wright, Investment Manager with Mercia and NPIF, added: “Since launching Cognisys less than four years ago, Steve and Arjun have grown the business rapidly and built an impressive client list. The funding will provide working capital to enable them to continue their expansion and help more businesses to build their cyber defences.”

We’re incredibly proud of what we have achieved in the last 12 months that has led to the recent investment and it’s testament to the amazing work our team delivers 365 days a year for our clients. A huge thank you to Mercia and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, we can’t wait to see what the next 12 months bring.

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