... and merges with Byres Research, but not Security

May 17, 2009
Hardly was the ink dry on the exida-Wurldtech agreement when the arguably even more significant news reached us of the merger of exida with Byres Research.

Hardly was the ink dry on the exida-Wurldtech agreement when the arguably even more significant news reached us of the merger of exida with Byres Research, one of the two companies set up by cybersecurity pioneer Eric Byres and his wife Jeann some three years ago when they left the original mecca of industrial cyber terrorism research, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Vancouver, Canada. With Byres Research, of which both Byres are senior partners, operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of exida, the merger creates what exida claims is “the world’s first company offering functional safety and security certification and consultation” and again highlights the interdependence of safety and security and the resulting increasing focus, particularly among companies operating critical oil and gas and power generation facilities, on the intersection of safety systems and cybersecurity.  


As Byres confirmed to INSIDER, however, the merger specifically excludes Byres Security Inc., the second company he and his wife established when they left BCIT and of which he is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and she is CEO. That is particularly important since it is Byres Security, based in Lantzville on Vancouver Island, which has jointly developed the Tofino “Intrinsically Secure” industrial security solution with MTL. 

First demonstrated at Honeywell’s European User Conference in Seville in 2006 and released in late 2007, Tofino has achieved widespread acceptance among process automation vendors and users, with Yokogawa adopting it as the standard cybersecurity solution for its Centum CS 3000 DCS and Stardom network control system, and ABB currently assessing it with a view to its adoption as the standard cybersecurity solution for its System 800xA DCS. “The exida/Byres Research Inc merger only includes the Byres Research Inc. part of the business — i.e. the security services, consulting and contract research work,” Byres told INSIDER. “Tofino, Byres Security Inc and the partnership with MTL on Tofino are not part of the merger.”

exida is named global process safety life cycle design software market leader in the new “Process Safety Life Cycle Software Market Analysis” report from ARC. exida’s exSILentia integrated safety life cycle suite, first introduced in 2001 and certified by TÜV to IEC 61508, integrates SIL selection, safety requirements specification and SIL verification, and incorporates an embedded equipment data base. ARC reckons the packaged safety life cycle design software market was worth $2.2 million in 2007. It estimates that growth was some 18% in 2008 and will continue at 10% annually for the foreseeable future. “People are becoming more conscious about safety, and the regulations and standards for safety are becoming better known,” explained report author Asish Ghosh.

Bucking the trend elsewhere in the economy, Foxboro, Mass.-based Industrial Defender has almost trebled floor pace at its premises to accommodate a newly outfitted Security Operations Center (SOC) for its Managed Security Services platform. The company has doubled its workforce since January 2008 and expects to add a further 20% in 2009 as it responds to growing demand for its cybersecurity services, prompted in part by President Obama’s prioritizing of cybersecurity, including the planned appointment a National Cyber Advisor. The Managed Security Services platform currently manages and monitors over 160 critical infrastructure process plants in 21 countries. The new SOC also houses a SCADA Security lab, an R&D and Services lab facility and a secure, high availability data centre. Industrial Defender has also announced the appointment of James Blaschke as vice president of worldwide sales and TC Lau as vice president of professional services.