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Fortinet establishing cybersecurity hub in downtown Calgary

A major international cybersecurity player is expanding its footprint in downtown Calgary.

On Friday, Fortinet announced it was establishing a new datacentre in the southern Alberta city, and expects to add an estimated 85 permanent and 80 temporary jobs in addition to the company’s 50 positions in the province.

With help from the Alberta government’s Innovation and Growth Fund, the company’s expansion will including a training centre for its cybersecurity training and a “centre of excellence” focused on keeping critical infrastructure and operational technologies safe.

“The initiative is not only another milestone for Fortinet in Calgary but a testament to Alberta’s commitment to fostering innovation and excellence in the field of cybersecurity in Canada and beyond,” Joyce Chow, Fortinet’s vice-president of talent, said.

Chow said Fortinet’s expansion will need to hire for roles like data center analysts, IT analysts, network security professionals, and system admins, as well as technical sales.

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“By fortifying our presence in Alberta, a province known for its innovative spirit, we underline our dedication to contributing positively to the local economy and tech ecosystem, as well as helping to close the talent gap in IT, supporting women in STEM, and ensuring that the region remains at the forefront of global cybersecurity initiatives,” she said.

Alberta wasn’t the only province in the running to try to attract Fortinet’s investment. Invest Alberta CEO Rick Christiaanse said there was cooperation on a “tight timeline” from his organization, Calgary Economic Development, as well as ministers Nate Glubish and Matt Jones to help land the company’s commitment.

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“We’re really proud of the fact that we were able to win this challenging project and move forward as a group and continue to build the ecosystem here in Calgary and the rest of Alberta,” Christiaanse said.

“Technology is part of our DNA. It always has been, always will be, and we are committed to continuing to grow this sector as fast as we can with great companies like Fortinet.”

Chow said the $3 million from the Innovation and Growth Fund “definitely” helped with the company’s decision.

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Jones, the minister of Jobs, Economy and Trade, said the new, $30-million green facility in downtown Calgary aligns with the province’s commitments to revitalize downtown centres in the province.

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“Bringing in this cutting edge facility will help to ensure downtown Calgary remains vibrant, diverse, and a safe place for businesses and community members to succeed for years to come,” Jones said.

Chow said one challenge the cybersecurity industry has is a skills gap, and Fortinet has rolled out training programs for K to 12 schools as well as a postgraduate program. For the past two decades, Fortinet has also been working with post-secondary institutions like SAIT and NAIT.

The Fortinet VP also said the company would like to see more women in cybersecurity.

Glubish, the minister of Technology and Innovation, was bullish on the future of that part of the tech sector, especially in this province.

“There has never been a better time to be in tech in Alberta than today. We have more companies than ever before. They are growing faster than ever before. They are raising more money than ever before. And we now, for the first time ever, have close to a dozen companies that are approaching that billion-dollar unicorn status,” Glubish said.

“This is an exciting time to be in tech in Alberta.”

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