Kanata’s Calian acquires Ottawa-based IT security firm

Calian-Secure
Left to right: Bill Dunnion, Director, Cyber Resilience Office, Calian; Sandra Cote, VP, Calian ITPS; David Tucker, CEO, Secure Technologies International.

Kanata-based Calian Group is keeping its foot on the gas pedal in its aggressive drive to grow through acquisitions, announcing Monday it has snapped up local IT security firm Secure Technologies.

Calian chief information officer Jerry Johnston said the transaction is the latest step in the company’s strategic plan to expand its cybersecurity offerings that began when Calian (TSX:CGY) acquired another local IT firm, DWP Solutions, in 2014. 

“Secure Technologies fit into that pretty nicely,” he told OBJ. “We’d heard good things about them and the initial discussions went well, both from a culture fit and understanding where the business relationships would come together. All in all, it just seemed like something that we were intended to do.”

Terms of the deal, which closed on June 1, were not released.

Johnston said the latest acquisition will boost Calian’s credibility with customers in the rapidly growing North American cybersecurity market, which is expected to reach revenues of US$53 billion by 2020 – up from $24 billion three years ago.

“I think we see cybersecurity in all forms as a place where we could actually generate some serious growth,” he said. “We really are starting to look at ourselves as an organization that is looking towards full resiliency when it comes to dealing with all types of emergencies, including cyber.

“(Secure Technologies) is exactly the type of organization that had been identified in the strategic plan for our IT business, especially on the cyber side. It gives us a lot of momentum as we continue to finalize our business plans for next year.”

Founded in 1986, Secure Technologies employs 10 people at its office in Orleans. The privately held firm works with corporate partners such as Fortinet, McAfee, Forcepoint and Gemalto to provide cybersecurity solutions and training to clients ranging from the federal government to Fortune 500 companies.

The company has annual revenues of between $6 million and $8 million, Calian said, adding it is retaining all of Secure Technologies' current employees and management team. They will continue to work out of their east-end office for the time being.

Officials from Secure Technologies said Monday they were not ready to speak publicly about the transaction. In a statement, CEO David Tucker said the company was impressed by Calian’s “brand, expertise and national market presence” and is excited to “realize the tremendous potential of combining Calian’s IT and cyber talent with Secure Technologies’ recognized skills and experience.”

Johnston said the opportunity to add world-leading security technology providers such as McAfee to Calian’s stable of expertise was a big part of the deal’s appeal.

"We were looking for an organization that's trying to drive a real value proposition."

“We were looking for an organization that’s trying to drive a real value proposition,” he said.

“We have relationships with some of these organizations, but not at the level that Secure Technologies does. They really sort of advance our relationship with these organizations quickly – much faster than we could probably have done on our own.”

McAfee said in a statement it is “very pleased” the two companies are joining forces.

“Calian's extensive experience in professional services, supported by Secure Technologies’ deep knowledge of McAfee, will improve adoption and help keep networks safe from malware and emerging online threats,” said Ned D’Antonio, the company’s director of Canadian channels.

Calian is a highly diversified company that provides a range of business and technology offerings, including health, training, IT and engineering services, out of its Ottawa headquarters. Its Saskatoon-based systems engineering division supplies communications systems for space agencies and satellite firms as well as contract manufacturing services.

It’s the sixth acquisition in the past six years for the company, which has more than 2,900 employees and last month reported record revenues of $77.1 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2018. 

Shares in Calian Group were up 60 cents to $32.25 in late-day trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.