An award winning cyber-security and managed IT provider that has more than doubled its workforce since moving to The Deep Business Centre less than three years ago is set for further expansion with more space and more people.
Co-founders Scott Clark and Leon McQuade have hit the targets for their latest five-year business plan at the halfway stage, with growth down to changing working habits that they say may persist beyond the pandemic.
Leon said: “Things have changed; cyber-attacks are way up. As a result we have re-tooled the business to help our customers protect and grow what matters most – their revenues. The vast majority of managers expect more flexible work from home policies post-pandemic, and they want to be sure their systems are secure.”
Having taken part in the past in projects involving the Hull and East Yorkshire LEP Growth Hub, Northern Powerhouse and Winning Moves, the pair welcome the recent launch of the Humber Local Digital Skills Partnership as something that will help them build their team to 20 by the end of 2023 – the 20th anniversary of Scott launching his one-man business from the back bedroom of his parents’ home.
Think Cloud had only five staff when Scott relocated his original business, Virtual Networking, to The Deep in late 2018 and joined forces with Leon, whose own business, Profound Inc, specialised in digital transformation for businesses.
Between them they added services for clients in accounts and finance, manufacturing, engineering and digital marketing. The central location at The Deep enabled them to attract people at a time when cyber-security skills were in short supply, and they now have 12 staff as well as a dedicated team of outsourced specialists.
From starting with a suite of 750 square feet at The Deep they have now added 500 square feet, creating the space to welcome more clients and colleagues.
Freya Cross, head of business and corporate at The Deep, said: “Think Cloud are another example of a company coming to our business centre and making the most of the flexibility and support we offer to expand when they need to, without having to begin a search for new premises.
“They have progressed extremely well during the pandemic and they have done that by helping other businesses with essential IT support in difficult times. There’s a certain irony in the fact that Think Cloud’s new offices were previously occupied by one of our clients who moved out because they took the decision that all their staff should work remotely.”
During 2019 Think Cloud promoted the business by hosting tech advice sessions at the business centre and elsewhere, with Leon taking on his “tech evangelist” role as a speaker at Humber Tech Expo.
When Covid hit and physical events were no longer possible the company stepped up to share its expertise online, notably with a series of masterclasses for the Hull and East Yorkshire LEP Growth Hub in partnership with Northern Powerhouse and as an associate of Winning Moves.
Against a background of data from the government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 showing an increase in cyber-crime and a decline in preparedness, Think Cloud looked at helping SMEs implement new technologies, with advice on hardware and software and on enhancing cyber-security.
Leon said: “We wanted to help businesses come up with a plan as part of the Grow My SME initiative to support the increasing numbers of people who were having to rapidly adopt and use digital technology.
“The launch of the Humber Local Digital Skills Partnership shows that digital technology is seen as being critical in getting businesses back up and running during the restart phase and thriving as the recovery takes hold.
“Our approach is to work with companies to develop new ideas on how to adapt, change their operations and customer journey, identify new opportunities, attract customers and develop cyber resilience.
“We continue to offer free advice with webinars and masterclasses on our website because most small businesses are low-hanging fruit for hackers due to their lack of adequate security systems.
“But you can’t get enough cyber security professionals and that’s a main reason why we came to The Deep – its central location and the quality of the facilities and support, help to attract people to come and work for us and we hope that will continue as we expand.”