With its world-class communications infrastructure, the province of New Brunswick has managed to attract investment from a number of global IT companies in recent years. One such company, Gaming Laboratories International (GLI®), has seen tremendous growth in multiple divisions of its business from their Moncton location.
Earlier this year the company announced it was expanding its existing services at the request of lottery clients with the establishment of a Global Lottery Instant Ticket Testing lab. Under its SLI Global Solutions brand, GLI has also moved the global headquarters of its Quality Assurance & Professional Services team to that same office in Moncton. More recently, GLI acquired another New Brunswick IT firm, Bulletproof Solutions, a cybersecurity solutions provider.
With New Brunswick’s industry positioned as the Cybersecurity Epicentre of Canada, Opportunities NB (ONB) thought it was a good time to speak with Greg Doucette, Managing Director – Quality Assurance & Professional Services, to learn more about the company’s increased investment in this province.
ONB: Cybersecurity is a hot topic for ONB, so let’s begin with your company’s latest New Brunswick acquisition, Bulletproof Solutions. Tell us what made them a good fit for GLI.
Doucette: The work being done at Bulletproof supplements a lot of what we are already doing at GLI.
For example, among the many professional services we conduct is security testing, and part of that security check is ethical hacking. We have hacked about 60 North American casinos. Each time we deliver a report, the client asks about solutions to their security issues. We recognized the need for a group that could look after the implementation and operational enhancements these casinos require, and that’s where Bulletproof and their cybersecurity expertise come in.
We opened the New Brunswick office in 2011 with two of us working with GLI President and CEO, James Maida. He looked to us to help develop our growth strategy in professional services, and since then, all subsequent acquisitions have been driven from the New Brunswick office. Looking at our revenue targets, we see the way to achieve our goal is through organic growth as well as acquisitions.
ONB: You’re well-versed in the cybersecurity world. Would you agree that New Brunswick is well positioned to lead in that sector with the establishment of CyberNB and a provincial cybersecurity strategy?
Doucette: Absolutely. Many people don’t realize the GLI team has been active in cybersecurity since 2011. The group in Moncton is among the top penetration testing/vulnerability assessment groups in the gaming industry worldwide. In North America we’ve already worked with those 60 casinos I mentioned; which includes casinos in both the U.S. and Canada. In Europe we are now working with several internet poker platforms; our team there performs hacking as well as ISO 27001 certification.
Bulletproof Solutions is an example of that cybersecurity leadership New Brunswick is bringing to the table. We had the ethical hacking and auditing side down pat, what we didn’t have yet was a way of building a full e-services firm. What Bulletproof brings to our clients is its managed IT services platform, including vital security offerings. Now when we work with casinos and find security vulnerabilities, we can offer a more fully-rounded services package to provide the necessary fixes.
ONB: Given the nature of your business you need people with certain skillsets. Can you comment a bit on New Brunswick’s workforce?
Doucette: Our New Brunswick team has been able to grow due to our ability to attract skilled people from this region. We have a large Software QA & Testing practice now and have had very good success staffing it in New Brunswick. The province has a extremely strong IT sector and that has been a huge benefit for us in terms of hiring.
We’re working with McKenzie College on recruiting for the Software QA & Testing Practice; we will be hiring interns from their software testing program. We’ve also discussed the possibility of them creating an ethical hacking course. That’s a very hard skillset to find, and we have found several good people here in the Maritimes to go with our people in both Europe and Las Vegas. Now we’re looking at how to grow more of our young people into those roles. That ethical hacking course could become a good feeder program for us. The foothold we have in the ethical hacking field right now throughout the U.S. and Canada is growing very strongly.
ONB: Can you speak to other advantages of doing business from New Brunswick?
Doucette: I think the biggest at the moment is the cost model. We do a majority of our work throughout both Canada and the United States. Right off the top we see a 20 percent advantage in revenue because our operating costs are in Canadian funds.
The overall cost of living in New Brunswick is good; overhead costs are fairly low, and rent and land are reasonably priced. Plus with the strong IT sector you can find good experienced people here. All of these factors combined create a positive economic environment versus larger markets.
This is why our leadership team has looked at purchasing local companies like Bulletproof. The economic benefits allow us to maximize profits and keep growing locally.
ONB: What role has ONB played with GLI?
Doucette: ONB has helped our team convince GLI leadership to invest even more in New Brunswick. Our team told ONB that we’ve got a potentially big fish on the hook; they just needed to help make the case for more investment here. GLI acquires companies across the globe and has built a massive business via acquisitions. With ONB’s help, GLI leadership has become impressed with New Brunswick and what is possible here. ONB has helped me position this region as the place to invest.
For example, Bulletproof Solutions was an investment in another New Brunswick business that helped the company expand our services to our customers from here. And we’re not finished yet; we are continuing to search for additional investment opportunities. There are some very good smaller companies here and we want to find the next Bulletproof, a big fish in a smaller pond that we can scale into a global player.
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