Manchester-based website hosting firm UKFast has announced the acquisition of cloud and cyber security service provider Secure Information Assurance.

S-IA provides secure cloud hosting and cyber security services to the Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office and a raft of other Government organisations.

UKFast, which recently announced a £2.3 million investment in its Government data centre space and is continuing to grow year-on-year, now has the UK’s highest security rated hosting and says it is continuing its journey into the high-level security services market.

Last summer its security business Secarma acquired cyber security specialists Pentest Limited.

UKFast co-founder and CEO Lawrence Jones MBE said: “This deal has been exactly a year in the making.

“Acquiring S-IA is a strategic move, not only because of its high-profile government clients, but also because of its security product set.

“It’s a business that’s very much on the rise and the deal was an extremely competitive process, but the S-IA management team sees the clear advantage of partnering with UKFast, seeing the instant scalability of our eCloud platform as the perfect offering for the Government. 

“We’re bolting on a new level of expertise and technical capability to UKFast’s existing product range, and combined with our exclusively UK-based data centres and best of British service, it’s an offering that other large providers dealing with the public sector simply can’t match.”   

Established in 2003, S-IA is focused exclusively on Government and public sector services, bringing 14 years’ experience of managing process and procedure for the highest level of government to UKFast. 

S-IA CEO Martin Knapp is set to head up Jones’ G-Cloud team as part of the move, targeting a share of the £1.69 billion currently spent through the government procurement framework.

Knapp said: “This is a hugely exciting move for all of us at S-IA. The conversation started when we went to UKFast to look at their data centre facilities.

“We initially planned to host our cloud with UKFast, but we were so impressed that we started a conversation about becoming partners and that quickly became a conversation about Lawrence buying the business.

“There are so many technical synergies between us and UKFast; at the hardware level, the software level and at the service level too. Their technical capabilities and infrastructure are like none I’ve seen elsewhere.

“Wholly owned, UK-based data centres are such an important factor for the sector we’re dealing with.”

UKFast co-founder and commercial director Gail Jones and director of mergers and acquisitions Catherine Houghton oversaw the deal.

Gail Jones said: “The moment I looked at this business I knew it was perfect for us. We’ve looked at 15 potential deals in the last year and this one was really head and shoulders above the rest.

“It was further reinforced when we spoke with the cabinet office, who gave S-IA a glowing report.”

S-IA has hosted services for the UK Cabinet Office since 2003 and is a long-standing, trusted partner of the Ministry of Defence.

Lawrence Jones continued: “As a British businessman, hosting for the Government is the biggest honour I could ever imagine. When we set up UKFast 17 years ago I could only dream of being in a situation like this.

“Britain needs world-class businesses looking after its critical infrastructure, especially during times of uncertainty. We’re completely focused on building a stronger, more secure Britain.”

Last year Secarma announced that it was to double the size of its London base.