Inside Admiral

Admiral UK's Information Security Growth Anchored by NS & BC Talent

January 28 marks National Data Privacy Day – a rallying point for businesses, governments, and industry stakeholders to build data protection and privacy awareness.

With safeguarding our customers and business assets a critical priority, Admiral’s UK-based Information Security team is marking the day with a week along best practice sharing campaign. The team has seen exciting growth over the last year and from a burgeoning pocket of tech talent located here in Nova Scotia and, soon, on Canada's west coast.

A year ago, we cut the ribbon on our information security brand in Canada, with the new department quickly proving itself as a vital contributor to the Admiral Group’s larger cyber strategy and day-to-day operations of protecting the business from increasingly sophisticated, AI-led attacks.

Early Beginnings

What began as a team of two in December of 2022 has grown to twelve highly skilled specialists based in Halifax but working remotely alongside UK counterparts - a strong example of the strength of Admiral’s collaborative strategy in a post-COVID era.

“We experienced challenges recruiting for cyber security experienced skilled resource in the UK and Canada showed potential to help us deal with this challenge.” offered Dorret Groot Wassink, the Head of Security Improvement & Business Management, on what kick started plans to take Information Security offshore.

Technical Security Consultant, Ben Desmennu, was one of the first Info Sec Canada professionals onboarded in Halifax in December 2022. He says the company’s people-first culture mirrors a robust info sec strategy.

“Placing the wellbeing of staff as a priority still baffles me. Yes, we should be productive but when it comes to choosing between the work and the people, Admiral chooses its people. That for me sets Admiral apart from previous places I have worked."

Desmennu (seen in the image to the right, celebrating with Attraction Specialist Fabian O'Brien) and his eleven colleagues are the progenitors of Admiral Canada’s tech division. The launch of the new-to-Canada function was another feather in the cap for our site’s diversification efforts following the creation and rapid growth of a Canada Claims department over the last year and a half.

“[They’re] contributing greatly to our service delivery and the implementation of the Vulnerability Management project and wider Business Change project delivery,” added Wassink of the contributions Canadian information security colleagues have added over the last year.

Cross-Country Talent Check

Driven by competitive salaries and Admiral’s nationally recognized employer of choice brand, InfoSec opportunities have caught the attention of a host of tech job seekers across Canada, with recruiters receiving more than 3,000 CVs over the last year and for highly specialized roles like technical security consultant, security automation engineer, and vulnerability management consultant, to name a few.

That response rate, also benefited by partnerships with local industry stakeholders like Digital Nova Scotia and Here We Code, has brought recruitment stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic together to attract the best of the best tech talent.

“The close relationship we have with our UK counterparts means we can leverage their expertise in tech recruitment, and that’s been a big part of our growth story so far,” said Talent Acquisition Specialist Fabian O’Brien, who is at the forefront of attraction efforts here at home. 

Western Canada Expansion 

That shared expertise has contributed to another milestone as Info Sec Canada recently finalized hiring SOC Analysts in British Columbia – a pivotal expansion step far from the Halifax homebase.

“As part of locations strategy, we are supporting a ‘follow the sun model,’ Wassink explains of the expansion to the west coast.

The move, a push to take advantage of the pacific time zone and its eight-hours of separation from UTC, means increased business output while preserving life/work balance of both UK and Canadian colleagues. It also offers increased visibility for Admiral’s nationally recognized brand albeit through a decidedly different lens of an up and coming tech player that prioritizes work/life balance, reward and recognition and employee wellness

Attraction specialist Fabian O’Brien, feels the success of the last year, coupled with a strong start to 2024, speaks to a bright future ahead.

“There’s a vast pool of talent to tap into it and given the strong relationships between our Canadian team and the UK, the sky may very well be the limit for Info Sec in Canada.”