Carlow-based cyber security firm Stryve is now carbon neutral, despite having a “significant enough” data centre presence across Ireland and Europe.
The company, which has provided data storage, back-up and security solutions for companies including fresh food giant Total Produce and financial brokers First Ireland, was certified carbon neutral by German auditing firm Climate Partner this month.
Although Stryve uses green energy to power its data centres in Cork and Warsaw, and has another centre under development in the UK, CEO Andrew Tobin was shocked to learn how much the firm was consuming.
“We found out what our carbon emissions were, which was a scary number when we got it back – even for a small company,” Mr Tobin told the Irish Independent in an interview. “We were shocked by the return.”
To offset its energy use, Stryve has invested in environmental projects in Congo, Nicaragua and Rwanda, and introduced ‘carbon budgets’ for each employee in areas like work travel or paper consumption, with those who go over having to balance with their less-polluting colleagues.
“For me and for my other business partners, it was a no-brainer,” Mr Tobin said. “Why wouldn’t we start looking at this? If you look at it from a selfish business perspective, sustainability is obviously going to be key moving forward.”
This autumn the Government will table its first ever five-year carbon budgets, which will set emission ceilings for key polluting sectors such as transport, agriculture and home heating, to help meet Ireland’s 2030 and 2050 climate targets.
But with Ireland setting itself up as a European data centre hub, EirGrid predicts the structures will use almost a third of all the electricity on the national grid by 2030.
Chinese video-sharing app TikTok has recently joined US tech giants Google and Microsoft in using Ireland as a data centre hub, while Echelon Data Centres was this year granted permission for a major new campus in Arklow, Co Wicklow.
Stryve has seen exponential growth since it was formed via a merger of Mr Tobin’s marketing firm T2 and Naas-based cyber specialists vCloud in 2018, doubling the combined turnover of the two companies in its first year, and it now on track for 60-70pc growth this year.
Around 50pc of its new business in Poland is government-based, with other opportunities coming from larger SMEs and scaling SMEs.
The HSE cyber attack has also created more awareness among company bosses about the need to secure their data.
“I think the HSE has really put cyber security, in particular, at the forefront of every business now. This has absolutely been brought home that this stuff does happen and it affects us all,” said Mr Tobin.
After the HSE attack, Stryve invested in ‘immutable backup’ technology, which provides “hardware-driven backups that basically can’t be overwritten”.
Mr Tobin’s advice to businesses and individuals is to make multiple backups and trust nobody. “The longer I spend working in this game the more cynical I get,” Mr Tobin said.
Source – The Irish Independent