Applied Intelligence eyes Malaysian talent to meet rising demand
By Gabey Goh March 26, 2014
- Company targeting 200 new staff from Malaysia over next two years to power global delivery hub
- Increasing appetite for cyber-security solutions across private and public sectors in the region
ANTICIPATING an exploding demand in the region for cyber-security solutions, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, the cyber-security arm of British multinational defence, security and aerospace company BAE Systems, is aggressively expanding its footprint in South-East Asia.
Applied Intelligence’s operations in Kuala Lumpur which began approximately five years ago, also serves as its regional hub, with further plans to develop capabilities as a global delivery hub for the group's security solutions business by 2015, beginning with the recent relocation to new offices last December.
According to the company, the investment commitment is approximately £11 million (US$18.16 million) over the next two years, with an internal target to beef up its workforce from the current headcount of 100 to 300 via the hiring of local information technology graduates.
During a recent media briefing, Martin Sutherland (pic), managing director of BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, said that there is an “immense opportunity to build cyber-defences for government and commercial entities” across the region.
He said that the company is already working very closely with governments to protect national critical infrastructure such as telecommunications, banking and utilities assets.
“Business is growing rapidly. The kind of services offered by Applied Intelligence sits neatly along the broader defence platform and is centred on intelligent protection and defending against asymmetric attacks,” he added.
According to Sutherland, the main purposes of the Malaysian facility is to firstly service the local market, with Applied Intelligence already working with Cybersecurity Malaysia and other private and public sector organisations, plus those in other markets in South-East Asia.
Secondly, it will be used as a product development centre, with software and hardware engineers to be based in Kuala Lumpur.
Building talent pipelines
Applied Intelligence’s managing director for Asia Pacific and Middle East, Richard Watson (pic), described Malaysia as “an interesting market” for the company, given not only the opportunity for growth and close working relationships with the Government, but also its lure as a base of operations.
“Malaysia has the right mix of skills and talent, is well served by local universities, with IT skills in particular being quite prevalent,” he said.
It is the company’s goal to have the Malaysian operations staffed mostly, if not entirely by local talent. When asked how confident the team was in achieving this mission, Watson said that they were quite optimistic.
“So far, so good. We’ve been recruiting hard for the last nine to 12 months and now have 100 staff. We also have a high bar for potential hires as well, and it’s a challenge to keep the bar at the right level when assessing new talent. Right now, we’re ahead in terms of the talent acquisition timeline we’ve set,” he said.
Sutherland added that it would be impossible to find candidates with the “pre-canned skills” required by Applied Intelligence to beef up its ranks.
“We’re looking for raw talent; it’s not easy, but we do have pipelines with some local universities and will provide the training from our side. What we’re looking for is the right attitude and an appetite for problem-solving and understanding data to provide actionable intelligence,” he said.
Next page: Rising appetite for cyber security