It is no secret that Ireland has been an attractive destination for global tech giants in the past few years.

Companies like Google, Apple, Twitter, and Facebook have already set up shop in Dublin, in a move that establishes a mutually beneficial relationship: foreign companies meet their need for European headquarters in an innovation and business-friendly EU country, and the Irish economy, in turn, receives a much welcome boost. But what does this all mean for Ireland – and what else could possibly be in store?

Ireland Fosters Innovation

It seems that the relationship that Ireland is building with foreign tech and social media companies is a two-way street: in bringing their expertise to Ireland, cutting-edge technology firms are also creating a more fertile ground for innovation in business. According to a 2016 survey by KPMG and RedC that was released in advance of Budget 2017, innovation plays a crucial role in the Irish economy. 80% of businesses are engaged in relevant activity and 70% of Irish firms believe that the country is innovation-friendly – and the government is certainly trying to prove them right.

In Budget 2016, the Knowledge Development Box (KDB) was introduced, a tax relief aiming at promoting innovation activity and research. The same survey revealed that 57% of Irish companies have still to catch up with the new incentive, but 58% find it very encouraging and 42% have already made use of it. Meanwhile, the Innovation 2020 aims to almost double funds invested into Research and Development by 2020, while Irish SMEs positioned themselves at the forefront of the EU Horizon 2020 scheme, achieving a success rate of roughly 20% – the highest among applicants under the €3 billion worth SME Instrument.

Dublin the New EU Hub for Cybersecurity, Technology, and Banking for Overseas Companies?

Among the innovation business activities that are on the rise, cybersecurity features as one of the most prominent areas where Ireland is expected to develop as a global innovation hub. According to a survey reported on the last January, the top countries for demand related to cybersecurity jobs and skills are Israel and Ireland. And with cybersecurity being high on everyone’s list lately, especially with the wave of recent ransomware attacks that impacted firms, individuals, and government infrastructure with great force, we might expect this demand in skills to grow.

Office building inside . Credit: Pexels

Office building inside . Credit: Pexels

Identifying and implementing sound cybersecurity solutions like a web application firewall is increasingly becoming a priority for companies worldwide. For instance, a WAF will not only filter out malicious traffic and protect web applications that are essential to business activities against the most common cyber threats, like SQL Injection and XSS attacks; it will also allow companies to comply with PCI-DSS certification requirements – which signals to clients that you are taking their cybersecurity seriously. But you need to employ the right kind of people to identify the right solutions.

All in all, it seems that Ireland and its position in the tech market is growing stronger every day – Facebook announced just last March that they will expand their offices in Dublin and almost double their workforce – they have currently the capacity for 2,000 employees in their Grand Canal Square offices, of which they are using 1,600 positions, and they will be adding 800 more posts in the city’s north docklands, according to projected needs. This means that almost 10,000 people will be soon employed by Facebook and Google alone. And this growth of jobs will most likely be positively affected by Brexit, as more companies search for relocation. English-speaking, business-friendly and committed to diversity, Dublin seems like the perfect place – and, just this summer, Bank of America, a company that currently employs a 700-strong staff in Ireland, announced it has designated Dublin as its EU Hub.

Ireland certainly seems to be on a roll as far as attracting the most important tech giants and cybersecurity experts goes, and the country might need this development more than we know. According to a survey published ahead of the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Cybersecurity conference, six out of ten Irish firms expect to fall prey to cybercriminals, while 45% had already been targeted and 90% believe that the government is not ready to tackle a hacker attack.