ESET's Expansion to Markham Bolsters Cybersecurity Innovation and Talent Growth in Canada

Apr 03, 2024

Running a business has always inherently involved risks, from challenges with staffing to fending off new competitors. But many of these risks pale compared to the damage that can occur from a data breach, phishing hack, or any other rising cybercrime tactics affecting businesses worldwide.

For over 30 years, ESET, founded in Slovakia, has helped businesses with their digital security needs. The company’s solutions protect business-critical data for over 400,000 business customers in more than 200 countries. ESET supports its global customers from 23 offices and 13 research and development centres, including a sales and marketing office in Markham, Canada, and a thriving R&D center in Montreal.

Bob Bonneau, ESET Canada’s Country Manager, said the difference between ESET and other cybersecurity companies is its focus on R&D. Bonneau elaborated on this, stating that ESET is at the forefront of research projects that identify web-based risks and malware threats. This invaluable threat intelligence directly informs product development, positioning ESET as a global leader in safeguarding both businesses and individual customers against security threats.

“Our brand commitment is “Progress. Protected.” Or to state it another way—it’s protecting the progress technology enables. Our goal is to protect the continued advancement, or progress, of ideas and innovation from vulnerabilities and threats.” said Bonneau.

The ESET Canada team is part of ESET North America, headquartered in San Diego, California. ESET first came to Canada in 2012 with the opening of an R&D office in Montreal, followed by its Canadian headquarters office opening in Toronto in 2016.

During the pandemic, the lease for ESET’s downtown Toronto location was ending, and Bonneau said it was an opportunity to find a new location to serve his team better. ESET uses its office space to host customers for meetings and other activities, and Bonneau wanted to find a space that worked for customer visits and provided room to grow the team if needed.

“We were initially looking in the Toronto area but quickly realized there were opportunities outside the downtown core. Markham jumped to the top of the list since it’s the second largest tech hub in Canada, and that’s a great reason for a tech company like us to choose it,” commented Bonneau.

Choosing a location that benefited his team was also a driving factor in choosing Markham. Bonneau highlighted the team is relatively young, and many could soon be looking to invest in their first home.

“We love the idea of Markham being a place where you can live, work, and play. There was an opportunity for our team to get into the market and build a life in Markham,” he expressed.

Bonneau said ESET’s Markham location also represented an opportunity for us to pull from an expanded talent pool to support its customers across Canada.

“Being downtown is great, but a lot of great talent live outside of Toronto, and they don’t want to commute in. By moving to Markham, we can now attract talent from a broader region, including Newmarket and Barrie,” said Bonneau.

Continuing to help grow the cybersecurity talent pool in the area is also part of ESET Canada’s mission. Each year, the company awards two $5,000 scholarships to women who are studying in a STEM field.

“It's a country-wide scholarship, but this past year, both winners happened to be in the Markham area. We know that the talent shortage combined with the pace of change in our industry can feel daunting. We want to hire good people and retain them, and we strive to help grow talent here whenever we can,” he said.

Bonneau added that choosing Markham continues to be a great decision. He noted the community’s diversity, from people to cuisine to businesses, is helping them attract and retain some of Canada’s best cybersecurity talent.

“From the perspective of a tech company, I think it makes absolute sense to be in Markham. The IBM Innovation Space-Markham Convergence Centre is nearby, along with other incubators for startups and other tech companies. It makes sense to consider Markham as a destination for your business,” Bonneau said.