BSI acquires Espion in move designed to boost global information security expertise

Espion's managing director Colman Morrissey (left) and Howard Kerr, CEO at the BSI

Espion’s managing director Colman Morrissey (left) and Howard Kerr, CEO at the BSI

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has just announced the acquisition of Espion Ltd and Espion UK, experts at managing and securing corporate information and headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The deal will see Espion become an operating subsidiary of BSI’s Professional Services business function and operate under the name ‘Espion – A BSI Professional Services Company’.

The acquisition of Espion expands BSI’s Professional Services business which has grown its consultancy capability globally following recent acquisitions in the US. It also reinforces BSI as the authority in information resilience. BSI was the originator of the internationally recognised ISO 27000 Series of Information Security Standards and is the global leader in providing training and certification to ISO 27001, the established Best Practice benchmark for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS).

Matching Espion’s 80 employees and award-winning information governance consultancy with BSI’s global reach will strengthen the value BSI brings to its 80,000-strong client base. Espion is a multiple winner of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 since 2006, and a former ICT Company of the Year in Ireland.

Indeed, the business is a market leader in Ireland for information management and security services including information governance, risk and compliance, R&D, eDiscovery and digital forensics, with its client base also stretching across the UK and the rest of Europe.

Technical expertise and thought leadership

Howard Kerr, CEO at BSI, commented: “We’re uniting award-winning technical expertise and thought leadership with an established global offering and a reputation for business improvement. Confidence in the security and quality of data is a $75 billion market* because it’s woven into every aspect of business performance. Information resilience is a crucial element of organisational resilience, allowing business leaders to adapt and grow within an increasingly risk-based digital environment. Espion’s world-class consultancy complements BSI’s wider offer, and will help further unlock excellence for our clients worldwide.”

Mark Basham, EMEA managing director at BSI, added: “As the business world is increasingly conducted on a digital platform, the issue of information resilience risen up the Boardroom agenda. The digital transformation within business has further intensified the complex security issues and threats organisations face to ensure that their corporate information is protected. This acquisition of Espion expands our information management and security proposition, enabling us to deliver the right solutions that have a positive impact and help embed excellence, increasing the resilience of the client’s information systems and processes.”

In addition, Colman Morrissey (managing director at Espion) explained: “Over the past few years, managing and securing corporate information has become highly complex owing to increased regulations, growth in the volume of data organisations are generating and the evolving and sophisticated information risk environment. We’re very much looking forward to delivering our ambition to develop a global Centre of Excellence that’s at the cutting edge of information resilience. BSI shares our vision to realise this ambition through knowledge acquisition, investment in innovation, adherence to leading industry standards and enhancing methodologies. The global reach, resources and industry standing of BSI add tremendously to what we expect will be a very promising future.”

Global demand for consultancy

BSI now operates in 30 countries and already services over 2,000 clients across Ireland. There is an immense global demand for consultancy in the effective management and security of corporate information, and the acquisition of Espion will support BSI’s expansion of its professional services activities in parallel with its existing knowledge and assurance businesses.

The addition of Espion provides an immediate opportunity for BSI to deliver a unique set of information resilience services not only for the UK and Europe, but also worldwide.

Basham continued: “Espion provides us with immediate growth opportunities in Europe and further strengthens the BSI’s commitment to the Irish market. Espion has a proven track record in delivering information resilience consultancy services to organisations across a wide range of industries spanning Government, healthcare, education, banking and finance as well as legal and insurance. The firm has offices and clients in the UK, the US and across Europe. I’m delighted the Espion leadership team will be joining the BSI team.”

On BSI’s acquisition strategy, Howard Kerr concluded: “Over the past decade, the BSI has grown its client base organically, increased its global footprint and expanded its portfolio offering to match today’s business needs.  Information resilience is one of our core strategic domains – along with supply chain and operational resilience – and this acquisition reinforces our commitment to our overall approach of encouraging organisational resilience for clients. To ensure that we remain a resilient organisation – one that’s agile, adaptive, robust and competitive – we have even greater ambitions for growth which will include quality acquisitions like Espion.”

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

*Gartner, ‘Forecast Analysis: Information Security Worldwide (Q2 2015 Update)’

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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