Cybersecurity consultancy and ethical hacking specialist Secarma has appointed Paul Harris as managing director as it aims to “challenge the biggest players in the industry”.

Owned by UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones MBE, the firm already provides services for some of the world’s biggest companies in a rapidly expanding security market.

Harris arrives with a wealth of experience working with and for global tech brands, and intends to deliver strong growth in his first 12 months.

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The organisation boasts a team of more than 50 ethical hackers and security experts, following the acquisition of CHECK and CREST-accredited security business Pentest Ltd in July 2016.

Harris said: “Secarma is an innovative, disruptive player in the market. It’s full of extremely talented people delivering a quality service to blue chip clients.

“Because of that talent and quality service it’s grown organically through word of mouth and repeat business.

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“There’s great potential for growth in marketing our proposition on a global scale. Businesses are waking up to the fact that security is the most important element of managing their environment online.”

The new managing director re-joins Jones’ group of companies following a three-year spell as marketing director at UKFast from 2009, during a considerable period of growth for the firm.

He added: “Looking at where Secarma and UKFast are right now and I see that we’re in a perfect position to challenge the biggest players in the industry.

“I discussed the position with Lawrence and it quickly became clear that this was an opportunity I had to take.

"I’ve got so many memories of working for UKFast and coming back to this group of companies feels like coming home.”

Since leaving the Manchester cloud provider in 2012, Harris has held the roles of UK marketing director at global enterprise software company Sage and co-founder of SaaS HR service provider BrightHR.

Lawrence Jones said: “I am incredibly proud to bring Paul back into the business at the highest level.

“The business has got huge potential and needs a strong leader – which is exactly what Paul is. He has my full support and I look forward to working with him.”

Jones’ hosting firm UKFast is currently ranked fifth best workplace in the Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to Work For and has a current annual revenue run rate of £44 million.

“Paul understands our business and culture inside-out,” Jones continued, “so who better to inject that into Secarma and take it to the next level?

“He took a different opportunity but I never lost sight of the fact that he was always a great leader and a great friend, plus he was learning new skills in some amazing businesses.”

The appointment comes as demand for cybersecurity services skyrockets in response to growing cyber threats and increasing awareness from UK businesses.

Organisations face the prospect of severely increased fines for security failings, following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).