Accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers announced Thursday that it has acquired Ottawa-based IT firm Avaleris as part of its push to strengthen its cloud, cybersecurity and other technology offerings.
The terms of the deal, which closed on Wednesday, were not disclosed.
Avaleris was founded in 2006 and provides cybersecurity infrastructure to cloud-based organizations. It has customers in the public sector as well as in financial services, oil and gas, telecom, retail, healthcare and other industries.
Avaleri’s President and CEO Ron Mac Donell said that as cyber threats become more common, global IT providers are pouring more money and resources into their cyber security offerings, making it harder for smaller companies like him to compete.
“It seemed like the right time (to sell),” he said. “It was all very natural.”
Mac Donell and Avaleris co-founder Anita Burwash will stay as advisors for a year before leaving the business. Mac Donell said he plans to focus on his other entrepreneurial venture, security software firm AffinitiQuest.io.
The cyber threat fears to rise
About 35 Avaleris employees will now join PwC, which absorbs the Ottawa company’s activities into its existing 300-person Canadian cybersecurity team.
PwC is among many global professional service companies sharpening their cybersecurity expertise amid growing attacks on cloud-based networks.
The company’s recent survey of more than 300 Canadian CEOs showed that cyber threats were the number 2 concern for their companies.
Earlier this summer, PwC unveiled a new global strategy aimed at expanding its offerings in areas such as cloud security, artificial intelligence and other new technologies.
“We already had some of these options, but this (agreement) expands it further,” said PwC tech and cloud leader Saj Nair. “The timing was perfect.”
The two companies already share some customers, and both have a strong partnership with Microsoft, he noted.
In fact, the relationship between Mac Donell and the Big Four auditing firm goes back several decades – PwC, which provides tax, accounting and other advisory services to Avaleris, provided similar services to two companies previously founded by Mac Donell.
“They knew about PwC and how we worked,” Nair said. “So I think there was a little consolation there.”