In the challenging world of cyber security, Canberra company Penten is establishing a growing reputation by selling its advanced technology to the Australian and UK governments, and to others.
From just four employees five years ago, Penten now has 80, and with growth comes the need for more space. To this end, the company has moved into the new University of NSW Canberra collaborative precinct, ‘Launch on Northbourne’ at 216 Northbourne Ave in Braddon as an anchor tenant.
UNSW Canberra Rector, Professor Michael Frater said that the concept of ‘Launch’ is about the power of collaboration, and Penten will be a leading contributor to the success of the collaborative model.
“Penten is a local Canberra company that have achieved great success having been recognised as Telstra’s 2018 Australian Business of the Year, as well as Australia Defence Industry’s 2019 Cyber business of the year,” Professor Frater said in a release.
“They also have a strong connection with UNSW Canberra; from advising and teaching into our cyber courses, through to the staff they employ with UNSW Canberra alumni being key members of the leadership team,” he added.
“Penten is forward-thinking and innovative, working on future challenges that industry and Australia will face. I welcome them to Launch and am are excited by the research and educational opportunities the collaboration will enable.”
Penten CEO Matthew Wilson said the company was delivering world-leading security technology to defence forces and governments in Australia, the UK, Canada and New Zealand.
“Defence and our customers around the world are asking more of us. Our investment here at Launch on Northbourne allows us to meet these needs,” he said at the launch. “It also allows us to extend our commitment to collaboration with Defence, UNSW Canberra and the Australian defence cyber and space partners in industry and academia.”
Wilson said the cyber threat was certainly growing, but there was now a good understanding of defences. He said that, in previous years Australia had been playing catch-up, but now the cyber capability in government and industry was coordinated and collaborative.
“As we have rushed through and developed and taken advantage of digitalisation of a lot of these capabilities, our ability to digitally defend those capabilities really is only now just keeping pace,” he said. “Yes there is a lot of work we need to do. Yes there is a lot we need to think about in the context of the threat landscape.
“As we build our sovereign Australian cyber defence industry and we see government really engaging with that industry to…force multiply the effects they are trying to achieve, we are genuinely are moving in a direction where we are getting on top of this.”
ACT Minister for Advanced Technology and Space Industries, Mick Gentleman said Penten is a local success story, providing world-class sovereign defence and cyber capability and contributing to Canberra’s remarkable culture of innovation and excellence.
“It’s great to see companies like Penten continuing to grow here in Canberra. By working collaboratively alongside other organisations – like UNSW Canberra – our local advanced technology industries will be well placed to solve the cyber challenges of tomorrow,” he said in a statement.
“The ACT Government is committed to supporting our defence, space and cyber industries, which play a key role in diversifying the ACT economy, attracting more investment and creating more jobs for Canberra.”
Of the security products that Penten can talk about, one is AltoCrypt, a large USB stik which uses innovative technology to deliver assured ultra-secure communications for government and Defence personnel working outside secure networks.
“We are focused on building things that are globally unique, not just for the Australian market,” Penten founder and director Ben Whitham said. “We are interested in building things that solve difficult problems or problems that haven’t been solved before and focused primarily on government markets.”
ADBR TV spoke with Mr Wilson at the 2019 MILCIS trade show in Canberra.