Scotland business

US takeover for Scottish cyber security firm ZoneFox

Computer user Image copyright PA

A Scots company that detects insider cyber-threats to client companies has been taken over by a large American corporation.

ZoneFox has been a rising star of Scotland's software sector.

In 2008, it grew out of the computing department at Edinburgh Napier University.

Its 25 staff design and market software to detect harmful digital activity by insiders who pose a threat to security within an organisation.

This is deployed to reduce the risk of data theft, leakage and misuse, by watching for unusual activity, seeing where data is going, who is accessing it and who is misusing it.

Clients include Kyowa Kirin, a large Japanese drugs firm with operations in Galashiels, Rockstar Games in Edinburgh, Pret a Manger, ScotMid, Craneware which sells software to US hospitals, Zenith Bank, Pinsent Masons law partnership, a university, a Mayfair casino, Hull football club and a lottery operator.

ZoneFox has been bought over by Fortinet of California for an undisclosed amount.

Its new owner has 360,000 client firms, and claims to sell more cyber-security packages to companies than any other provider. In the second quarter of this year, it had revenue of $441m.

According to Fortinet's founder and chairman, Ken Xie, 30% of data breaches result from inside activity which is either negligent or malicious.

The sale will bring a windfall to Jamie Graves, the founder and chief executive. He designed the original ZoneFox software while studying for doctoral degree in digital forensics at Edinburgh Napier University.

Other investors in ZoneFox include the Scottish Investment Bank, which is the Scottish government's investment arm through Scottish Enterprise, as well as the Scots-based Archangels syndicate of technology investors.

More on this story