Professional services group snaps up cyber security firm

Mike Wills, Charlotte Riley and Sarah Walker-Smith
X The Business Desk

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Cyber security firm CSS Assure has been acquired by legal and professional services group Ampa – which has a presence in the East Midlands.

The deal is projected to add more than £7m to the group’s turnover over the next three years.

The addition, which marks the first non-legal service provider to join since the launch of Ampa’s ‘house of brands’ strategy, will see Exeter-based CSS Assure continue to trade under its existing brand across the UK and internationally.

All CSS Assure team members will remain with the company, with no redundancies planned, and 14 new jobs planned over the next 12 months.

CSS Assure provides cyber security, data protection, financial crime resilience and background checks as well as supporting clients to optimise and commercialise their data resources, from self-service to fully managed data and cyber security provision, for both life and business.

Co-founders of the cyber security consultancy Mike Wills and Charlotte Riley will be joining the Ampa membership (subject to SRA approval), ultimately holding equity in the group of brands; with all directors and employees remaining with the business.

Co-founder and director of strategy and policy at CSS Assure, Wills is a retired British Army Infantry Major with more than 20 years’ experience working in technical and information assurance roles as well as consulting for large defence organisations.

Also from a military background, co-founder and director of information security at CSS Assure, Riley has worked for NATO, United States Department of Defence and multiple Fortune 200 companies.

Sarah Walker-Smith, CEO of Ampa, said: “Cyber security is a growing sector, with hacking, attacks and data breaches causing significant issues for businesses at every stage of their lifecycle, as well as people and their families. CSS Assure will support our legal experts with technical knowledge to protect our customers and unlock their potential.

“When we set out our ‘house of brands’ strategy we were very clear that cultural fit came first; and we’ve found in CSS Assure not only a fantastic and ambitious business that offers significant benefits to our clients and people, but also a team who share our values and beliefs.

“We’re in this together and in it for the long term, with exciting – but realistic – projections for growth. We expect CSS Assure to have strong growth and profit in both the short and medium terms, supported by our planned investment from the group.”

Wills said: “Our mission is to make information security simple and businesses and individuals ‘Hard to Hack’; we are humans first and know our clients are too – and we saw that collaborative nature and desire to do business for good shine through at Ampa, which is what first attracted us to this partnership.

“Our services complement Ampa, and our impressive joint client base and exciting innovation roadmap provide a strong catalyst for growth. We are also looking at expansion from day one with a number of job opportunities for technical specialists – we’re keen to hear from cyber security and data experts who would like to join our growing brand.”

CSS Assure is reinforced by military veterans and the consultancy is a signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant, supporting veterans leaving the services, and their families.

Ampa, which is pending B Corporation status, also includes full-service law firm Shakespeare Martineau, consumer focussed brand Lime Solicitors, as well as a leading property planning consultancy Marrons Planning, and debt and asset recovery experts Corclaim.