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Mastercard’s Global Intelligence and Cyber Centre of Excellence in Vancouver is getting ready to show off some of its innovations in its new Experience Centre.Supplied

Two years after unveiling the Global Intelligence and Cyber Centre of Excellence at its Vancouver Tech Hub, Mastercard is getting ready to show off some of the world’s most impressive innovations in the field of cybersecurity.

The city has the distinction of being one of Mastercard’s eight global technology hubs, along with Dublin, Sydney and New York. These strategically located hubs allow the company to increase its footprint in closer proximity to its customers, and top industry talent. The designation was established in 2020, with a $510-million investment by Mastercard in partnership with the Canadian government. The Vancouver Tech Hub is also the only one that features a Centre of Excellence for cybersecurity.

Now the company is preparing to open its doors and offer the public a chance to discover its latest cybersecurity advancements.

Before establishing the Centre of Excellence, much of Mastercard’s Canadian operations were concentrated in Toronto, according to Mastercard Canada’s president Sasha Krstic. That all changed in 2017, when the company acquired Vancouver-based NuData, a global leader in fraud management, biometric authentication and digital security products.

“We knew Vancouver was a highly sought after and growing tech talent capital already, so it just made sense to leverage that Canadian expertise and innovation across the entire global Mastercard network,” Ms. Krstic says, adding that the acquisition helped accelerate a growing cybersecurity ecosystem on Canada’s West Coast. Since designating the Centre of Excellence in 2020, Mastercard has created more than 230 tech jobs in the Vancouver region, and Ms. Krstic says the company is looking to hire.

“We’re excited to bring together the brightest tech minds to establish Canada as a world leader in cyber innovation,” she says.

“Having an anchor in a city like Vancouver can help build partnerships across the country and support Canada as a whole with respect to the global cybersecurity and digital payments ecosystem.”

For example, Mastercard recently partnered with Toronto Metropolitan University, investing $1.25-million to establish two training programs focused on promoting diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity sector. In April, Mastercard established a partnership with the University of New Brunswick, providing a $1.75-million investment to help enhance research and learning at the school’s Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity.

“We know that cybersecurity is a growing challenge, and that’s not only true for legacy companies that are moving into the digital space because of the pandemic,” Ms. Krstic says. “Increasingly any small, mid-size or large company that is going to have a future growth trajectory has to play in our global digital economy.”

She adds that the pandemic forced more companies to go digital, and as the virtual world expanded, so did the threat landscape. As a result, maintaining confidence in the security and reliability of the global digital financial ecosystem in the face of this increasingly sophisticated threat environment is both complex and vital.

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Mastercard Canada’s president Sasha Krstic says she believes the company's Centre of Excellence will transform Vancouver as a city, and Mastercard as a company.Supplied

“Our mission is to drive trust into the digital economy, and our work is laser-focused on making digital interactions as safe, simple and secure as possible,” says Chris Reid, the executive vice president of identity solutions at Mastercard. “The raw ingredients are data and insights, and the recipe for a lot of our solutions is our AI capabilities, which is why we have a significant AI presence at the Intelligence and Cyber Centre of Excellence in Vancouver.”

While artificial intelligence and biometrics are at the heart of many cybersecurity and payment solutions today, Mr. Reid adds that the Centre of Excellence is also looking at the development of emerging technologies, such as cloud storage, quantum computing, and virtual reality.

Two years after its establishment, Mastercard’s Global Intelligence and Cyber Centre of Excellence is getting ready to show off some of those innovations in its new Experience Centre, on May 25.

“The innovative cybersecurity products and solutions being developed at our Vancouver Tech Hub, through our Centre of Excellence, are already transforming the future of global digital payments,” Mr. Reid says. “The new Experience Centre offers the opportunity to discover these up-and-coming solutions first-hand through exciting demos and creates a space for collaboration and learning for the community.”

Ms. Krstic explains that as our world becomes more reliant on digital technologies, the security and reliability of digital financial infrastructure has become a primary concern of both businesses and governments around the world. Now Vancouver, and Canada more broadly, have secured a place at the forefront of this important and growing industry.

“Reducing the cost of cyber attacks, enabling our connected devices to become tomorrow’s secure payment devices, addressing the growing vulnerabilities associated with the Internet of Things; we created this Centre of Excellence to tackle some of these really significant challenges,” Ms. Krstic says.

As the Centre of Excellence develops new innovations across a variety of emerging tech sectors, Ms. Krstic says she believes it will transform Vancouver as a city, and Mastercard as a company.

“As a technology company in the payments space, we’re always looking for ways to innovate beyond the card,” she says. “Our Global Intelligence and Cyber Centre of Excellence in Vancouver is an incredible expansion of our presence in Canada that helps us leverage world-class Canadian talent to build cybersecurity solutions that benefit consumers, businesses and governments in Canada and around the world.”

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with Mastercard. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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