Arqit Limited Before QuantumCloud: What Else Have The Leaders In Quantum Encryption Got Going For Them?

The quantum encryption company Arqit has made headlines in a fair few industries for its revolutionary cyber security product QuantumCloud™. But, beyond this ‘headline act’, there isn’t much information out there about this British-born start-up. To solve this, I put my ‘research mole’ hat on recently and did some digging to find out more about this seemingly mysterious organisation. 

For those who don’t know, QuantumCloud™ is a cyber security product, patented by Arqit Limited, capable of securing literally any data transfer from all current and future forms of cyber attack. All you have to do is download a little bit of code onto every networked device and your entire network is secure, just like that. It is one of those solutions that almost sounds too good to be true! 

But I am not here to talk about QuantumCloud. I am here to find out what Arqit has been up to…

Building A High-Profile Team

When researching Arqit, what stood out right away is the caliber of its board of directors. I mean, if there was such thing as a ‘fantasy cyber security company’, the line-up would look a lot like the reality of this company’s board.

Started by entrepreneurs David Williams and David Bestwick, Arqit has quickly developed into a pretty large (and very experienced team). This is no surprise, as the two David’s have already seen overwhelming success with their first start-up ‘Avanti Communications’, an organisation with more than 200 staff across the UK, Europe, the US, the Middle East and Africa. Both are successful entrepreneurs and Bestwick was recently named by The Quantum Daily as the 4th brightest CTO “transforming the world of quantum tech”.

But it doesn’t stop there, the board also plays host to the following:

  • The founder of the encryption security protocol SSL and co-inventor of Public Key Infrastructure (the literal backbone of the internet), Dr. Taher Elgamal.
  • The former UK Head of Cryptographic Design and Quantum Information Processing at GCHQ
  • The former Chief of Research and Innovation at GCHQ
  • One RAF and MOD command veteran
  • Multiple US Air Force veterans
  • One former CEO of the UK Space Agency
  • One former head of operations at Downing Street

Most recently, Arqit appointed David ‘Kumo’ Kumashiro as their new US General Manager. Kumashiro is a USAF veteran of more than 30 years and most recently led the Department of Defense (DoD) in the application of AI to national security missions. Before that, he was a Brigadier General on the DoD’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) project. Another huge addition to the Arqit team.

Signing High-Profile Collaboration Agreements

Onto Arqit’s list of partners next and it is another smorgasbord of well-known organisations in a huge range of industries.

Back in June, Arqit announced that it had formed an international consortium of companies and government organisations to provide its quantum encryption technology to government customers in a federated system concept. The group includes representatives from the UK, USA, Japan, Canada, Italy, Belgium, and Austria, and is known as the Federated Quantum System (FQS). With well-known links to the UK, US and Japanese governments in the aforementioned board of directors, it is hardly surprising that Arqit has such close relationships with these countries.

Next on its list of partners is the international law firm Dentons, which signed a partnership agreement in July to co-develop a quantum-safe, self-sovereign identity system (“SSI”). This system will allow users to control their own identities and selectively grant access permissions to other organisations, securing the complex but vital process of transferring legal documentation and information from party to party.

Not wanting to stop there, Arqit has also launched collaborations with connectivity providers British Telecomms (BT) and Juniper Network, aiming to provide secure connectivity for the UK and beyond. These partnerships are particularly relevant right now, as the advent of 5G has brought about an increase in security risks for mobile internet users.

Last but certainly not least, Arqit has partnered with three of the world’s biggest national defence organisations: Northrop Grumman, Babcock and Blue Bear. Defense. The company plans to leverage the relationships with these partners to test its security solutions on military-grade autonomous vehicles, weapons, and communications devices. If successful, Arqit may be the organisation keeping our defence systems safe from attack well into the future. No cyberwars for us, thanks!

Patenting New And Unique Technology

Although little is known about the exact patents Arqit holds (other than their QuantumCloud™ and QuantumKeep™ products), we do know that it has over 1,000 patent claims on more than a dozen patent applications. It is the first company to develop a solution to make symmetric key encryption (SKE) work at scale and the first to merge satellite technology and SKE to form a cloud-based cyber security solution. As far as we can see.

So, What’s Next?

So now we know what the Arqit team are up to right now, what exactly is next for these cyber security giants?

Well, according to their CEO David Williams, they will continue to develop to stay ahead of the game in quantum technology and cyber security. No doubt we will soon hear the results of the range of partnerships and collaborations Arqit has entered into, so this will certainly be one to watch. I am especially interested to see where the defense partnerships go and if this could lead to a permanent military contract for Arqit!

Come 2023, Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system will also be supporting Arqit in launching two new satellites from Cornwall, UK. These satellites will help Arqit’s solutions to scale up even more than they already do. There is some speculation that this may lead to more launches later down the line, but all we know for sure is that Virgin’s partnership with Arqit will not be a short-term one, as they have now invested over $5 million in the company.

I can’t wait to see what comes next for Arqit. Whatever it is, I am sure it will have huge implications for the industries and organisations involved.

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