Category: News


Marcus Thompson Penten

Marcus Thompson AM PhD has joined Penten’s Board of Directors, bringing with him over 30 years of experience in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Dr Thompson joins Penten to help support its rapid growth, underpinned by its work with defence and government clients.

His most recent job in defence was as the inaugural head of the Information Warfare Division, where he led defence force capabilities in cyber, electronic warfare, intelligence, space, artificial intelligence, and command and control.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Board of Directors at Penten, who are a standout example of Australia’s booming cyber and national security industry,” Dr Thompson said.

“Penten’s focus on secure mobility, applied AI and tactical communications is a natural fit for my previous experience and I am looking forward to helping them as they continue to grow and prosper as a company,” he said.

“The battlespace of the future will increasingly be a digital one.  Companies like Penten will be leading the charge to help keep Australia safe,” Dr Thompson said.

Penten CEO Matthew Wilson said Dr Thompson’s appointment was a vote of confidence in the company as it continues to grow.

“From five founders in 2014, to 120 staff today, Penten has grown into one of Australia’s leading cyber technology companies,” Mr Wilson said.

“Since 2017, when the Information Warfare Division was founded, the Australian cyber industry has developed tremendously and is the best example of sovereign capability development in the national security field,” he said.

“Cyber is proving to be Australia’s best chance to create a world leading national security sector, one where our products and capabilities can be exported worldwide, especially to our five-eyes partners,” Mr Wilson said.


About Marcus Thompson

Major General Marcus Thompson graduated from the Royal Military College in 1988 and was allocated to the Royal Australian Corps of Signals. He served in a variety of command, regimental and Special Operations appointments including: Command of the 3rd Combat Signal Regiment; secondment to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) as the Senior Advisor Defence Policy and Operations; Director General Special Operations Capability; Commander 6th Combat Support Brigade; and deployments to East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His final appointment was as the inaugural Head of Information Warfare for the Australian Defence Force.

Since leaving the Australian Army, Marcus has founded Cyber Compass Pty Ltd, an independent advisory focused on improving cyber security and developing sovereign Australian capability.  He is also a Director of Engineers Australia, having been elected in November 2019.

Marcus holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering with honours from the University of New South Wales, a Bachelor of Business from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, a Masters Degree in Defence Studies from the University of Canberra, a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies from Deakin University, and a PhD in Cyber Security from the University of New South Wales. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Penten was named Cyber Business of the year for the second year in a row at the Defence Connect Australian Defence Industry Awards, held Thursday 26 November 2020. The awards were held across three physical locations: Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra and also livestreamed.

Penten’s innovative AltoCrypt Phone featured as one of the company’s most important and innovative products of the year. The AltoCrypt Phone was launched in November 2019. This capability  extended Penten’s customer capabilities throughout the pandemic allowing Government and Defence users to work remotely and flexibly while still accessing sensitive information.

Penten’s Company Director and CFO Sarah Bailey accepted the award at the Canberra event.

“It is incredibly humbling to win this award for the second year in a row. It’s a testament that we are doing what we said we would do, and that is make a different to the Australian Defence Force and Government clients.

“This award really belongs to all the Penten family and the amazingly talented individuals that make Penten great,” said Bailey.

Penten was also a finalist in the Defence Innovator of the Year category. Three Penten staff members were also finalists: Sarah Bailey as Executive of the Year, Merik Karman as Innovator of the Year and David Liebowitz as Scientist of the Year.

On Tuesday 13 October, Matthew Wilson, CEO of Penten, received a Highly Commended award for the Male Champion of Change category in the AWSN (Australian Women in Security Network) Awards.

The award aims to recognise individiuals working to shift entrenched gender inequalities by championing for more equality in the IT security industry. They demonstrate a genuine commitment in time, investment and innovation.

“We have always aimed to build a female friendly workplace and I am very proud of the team for receiving this award, it’s actually not just an individual award, it’s for all of Penten”, Matthew Wilson said.

“National security is unfortunately not normally thought of as an industry friendly to women,” he said.

“Globally women make up less than 20 per cent of the sector and in APAC cyber security sector,  only 10 per cent of the workforce is female.

“Penten currently has a 22 per cent female workforce and the company is steadily working towards its goal of a 50-50 gender split amongst its team.

“Our increasing female workforce is based on Penten’s innovative initiatives, which include unlimited sick, reservist, domestic violence and carer’s leave; 26 weeks paid parental leave and paid super on another 26 weeks unpaid leave; multicultural leave and paid training and study leave.

“Getting towards our 50 per cent goal takes effort, but it’s not hard to be observant and respectful. We at Penten know that together is better,” he said.

Two other Penten staff were named finalists in the AWSN awards: Alison Lee, Director of Logistics in the Unsung Hero category and Shey Dimon, Communication Manager in the Best Champion of Women in Security/Resilience.

Penten was also named a finalist in the Best Place to work for Women in Security category.

Australia offers cutting-edge cyber security technology solutions, and these are valuable to a world-wide audience. Exporting to the UK is not always simple however, and Penten would like to offer some guidance and tips, on how we navigated the export landscape in the UK.

In collaboration with AustCyber, we are pleased to introduce the Export Commercialisation Playbook for Australian Cyber Start-Ups, UK Edition.

In this playbook, we provide a personal case study of our own export journey taking our product ‘TrapDocs’ to the UK.

Designed as an informative and simple guide to help Australian cyber start-ups navigate the complexity of exporting to the UK, the playbook tackles issues from export licensing to intellectual property, marketing, choosing distributors and understanding legalities.

The playbook is structured to guide organisations through a sequence of four steps needed to successfully take cyber security products or services to the UK market.

The four steps are covered in the following sections:

  • The ‘decide’ section is intended to help you with a rationale for exporting your product.
  • The ‘prepare’ section will get you ready to take the plunge, including information on pricing, positioning and intellectual property.
  • The ‘sell’ section discusses marketing, resellers and export legalities.
  • The ‘deliver’ section is all about successfully fulfilling on orders to provide your customers with the best service possible.

Download a copy of the Playbook: AustCyber Penten UK Export Playbook

Announcement anchor tenancy Launch

UNSW Canberra has welcomed local Canberra cyber security company Penten as the anchor tenant at the University’s new collaborative workspace precinct; Launch on Northbourne.

UNSW Canberra Rector, Professor Michael Frater said that the concept of Launch is about the power of collaboration and Penten will be a leading contributor to the success of the collaborative model.

“Penten is a local Canberra company that have achieved great success having been recognised as Telstra’s 2018 Australian Business of the year as well as Australia Defence Industry’s 2019 Cyber business of the year.

“They also have a strong connection with UNSW Canberra; from advising and teaching into our cyber courses through to the staff they employ with UNSW Canberra alumni being key members of the leadership team,” Professor Frater said.

“Penten is forward-thinking and innovative, working on future challenges that industry and Australia will face. I welcome them to Launch and am are excited by the research and educational opportunities the collaboration will enable.”

Matthew Wilson, CEO of Penten said that moving to Launch will enable the business to grow in a centrally located area that provides easy access for clients, industry partners and employees.

“The Launch collaboration space provides the opportunity to share ideas, resources and new methods of delivering capability in the defence, space and cyber industries,” Mr Wilson said.

Being part of a unique opportunity to contribute to the vibrant and growing community in Canberra focused on Defence and national security whilst sharing space with academia, government and industry partners was part of the appeal of the Launch concept.

“It also means being at the heart of innovation which is something Penten strives to do,”
Mr Wilson said.

ACT Minister for Advanced Technology and Space Industries, Mick Gentleman said Penten is a local success story, providing world-class sovereign defence and cyber capability and contributing to Canberra’s remarkable culture of innovation and excellence.

“It’s great to see companies like Penten continuing to grow here in Canberra. By working collaboratively alongside other organisations – like UNSW Canberra – our local advanced technology industries will be well placed to solve the cyber challenges of tomorrow.

“The ACT Government is committed to supporting our defence, space and cyber industries, which play a key role in diversifying the ACT economy, attracting more investment and creating more jobs for Canberra,” said Minister Gentleman.

Penten is an Australian cyber company focused on delivering defence and security technologies. It makes hardware and software cyber solutions to enable the modern war fighter and policy maker and give them the best advantage. In addition, the company creates secure mobility devices, encryption modules and automation tools to counter the adversary.

“Cyber security is a rapidly growing industry and defence is becoming more digital and connected. The future fight will include machine-on-machine conflict and we need to ensure Australia has world-leading defence and security technologies to tackle this challenge,” Mr Wilson said.

Launch on Northbourne was announced in December last year and is dedicated to the defence and security industries. It is a precursor to the larger Defence and Security Innovation Precinct which will be established at UNSW Canberra’s new City campus.

The Precinct will facilitate new connections in the sector, fostering powerful collaborations and contributing to the advancement of Australia’s defence and security capabilities.

Penten, a local cyber security company has been successful receiving funding under contract with AustCyber, the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network to provide secure network access to a pilot group of regional SMEs and academia.

This project represents turning point for Defence industry. The opportunity will provide Aussie SMEs with means to bid for, win and work on Government classified projects in a secure and protected environment from any location. Regional Australia will no longer be excluded from working on Defence projects and Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities will have a chance to thrive.

For some regional SMEs and the research community, working with Defence has proved difficult. The cost to set up and operate secure IT systems is expensive and complex. This complexity has restricted SMEs from entering the industry, whereas larger companies with the ability to set up and maintain secure communications have had an advantage.

Penten’s secure mobility service is a low-cost alternative, providing regional Australia the chance to join the Defence industry without the high up-front and ongoing maintenance costs. It also gives Defence industry the opportunity to engage a wider range of Australian companies to deliver sovereign capability.

Based on Penten’s AltoCrypt® technology, the project will deliver customers a familiar desktop experience through a secure device to a protected environment. Users will enjoy flexibility without the need for briefcases, power packs and cables. The SME will only need to provide an internet connection.

The secure mobility service provides the SME the ability to meet the requirements to access Australian government work with the opportunity to expand to the global defence market. After the pilot, it is planned to roll out the service to a wide net of Defence Industry partners.

Matthew Wilson, CEO, Penten reiterated the benefits to Australia are twofold. “SMEs are the future growth and innovation engine of the Australian cyber economy. These businesses provide invaluable opportunities for Defence to gain advantage. Without them, we are missing out. Australia is missing out.

“Our secure mobility service will provide these SMEs and academics the opportunity to be seen, heard, and have their ideas, products and skills recognised on a national and international level. The Australian economy will benefit as will the SMEs themselves. This is a turning point for regional Australia, small business and Defence. No one need be excluded any more”.

Michelle Price, CEO, AustCyber said, “This project will bring together Australian SMEs to better support and protect themselves, Defence and national security information; as well as Australia’s emerging place in the global defence and cyber market. AustCyber sees this project as a true game changer for the Australian economy and it shows a better way for economies globally.”

In addition to work opportunities, this secure mobility service raises the cyber protection of those businesses and researchers that face the highest threat. Often, SMEs are targeted by cyber adversaries as they are not equipped to protect themselves. The cost of not making the investment results in their exclusion from directly supporting the Defence sector. This project will enable these communities with trusted and proven cyber protection.

For academia specifically, the project will foster the acceleration of sensitive research and development enabling participation in the lucrative and forward leaning, global defence markets.

Sarah Bailey, has accepted a position on Penten’s board of directors. This significant step, marks the rapid growth of the company.

Since Penten’s inception in 2014, the company has doubled in staff and revenue every year, with 2020 projected to yield similar results. Sarah Bailey’s newest role as a company director, demonstrates the maturing of the company from a start-up to medium sized business in less than five years.

Matthew Wilson, CEO, Penten said, “Never before have we appointed someone who is not originally one of the founders of the company to the Board. We know that good business strategy comes from diverse thinking.

“Sarah brings her experienced and varied outlook to our board. She has proven to be an extremely effective CFO and she has played a pivotal role in Penten’s recent success. Only good things can come from this appointment.”

Bailey is an accomplished finance and business executive with more than 20 years’ experience in finance, strategy and governance. With qualifications in commerce, psychology and business leadership, she has exemplary skills across a broad, cross-section of areas.

Bailey has championed innovative people initiatives at Penten, including policies such as 26 weeks paid paternal leave, unlimited sick and carer’s leave, unlimited reservist leave and a 50/50 gender target.

Sarah Bailey, CFO, Penten said, “Diversity comes in many forms and one of the things we need to grapple with in the competitive cyber industry is attracting the best and brightest. We know we need to think as creatively as we can to attract the best. Penten is creating a workforce where especially women feel as though they can excel.”

Penten has been recognised on the National Australia Bank’s Innovation Index 2019 as exhibiting some of the best innovation behaviours in Australia. The innovation index measures how businesses did things differently, more quickly or more cost effectively.

Sarah Bailey, CFO, Penten said, “Innovation is in our heartbeat, not something we do on the side. We find customer problems that are unsolved and we do cutting edge work to solve them.”

Penten focuses on innovation by investing heavily in research and development and placing strategic importance on its people.

“At the heart of Penten is its people and a culture of deep internal trust, a family-like atmosphere and a strong united mission. By prioritising people, it not only creates an atmosphere of innovation, but drives customer satisfaction and business performance.” Bailey said.

Penten was recently recognised as Most Innovative Company in the AFR and Boss Awards and also received an award for Best Innovation Platform.

To access the full report visit:

CSIRO D61+ Live

The Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC), has today announced a major research project between homegrown cyber security company Penten and CSIRO’s Data61, the data and digital specialist arm of Australia’s national science agency, to extend the country’s sovereign advantage in autonomous and active defence.