A Canberra-based cyber security company is following in the footsteps of firms like Google, Twitter and Airbnb after being named a technology pioneer by the World Economic Forum.
QuintessenceLabs, founded by chief executive Vikram Sharma in 2008, is just the eighth Australian company to receive the recognition.
The company is creating technology to protect data from hackers, and has developed products that include the world's fastest commercial quantum random number generator, an advanced encryption key and security policy manager, and “virtual zeroization” solutions to secure sensitive data.
Mr Sharma said he was humbled by the "giant footsteps" his company was following in.
He said the ACT was starting to establish itself on the world cyber security stage, and that plenty of opportunities existed for local companies if they picked a niche field within cyber security to focus on.
"We're living an increasingly digital lifestyle and so much valuable information is now held in digital forms," Mr Sharma said.
"Economists said last year that data was the new oil, and they're right.
"I think the opportunity for Australia and the ACT lies in picking niche fields and developing world-class, transformative technology in those fields, like we have done in data protection."
Mr Sharma said QuintessenceLabs was integrating advanced quantum technologies with data protection solutions to keep data secure.
A recent survey the company conducted showed that 42 per cent of business leaders in large Australian organisations believed they would suffer a data breach, and that 60 per cent believed there were gaps in their current systems.
"Traditionally in cyber security, we tried to put walls around our data to keep the bad guys out," Mr Sharma said.
"What we've learned is that that is increasingly insufficient because the bad guys are getting more and more sophisticated.
"One of the best forms of encryption you can have is data encryption and a layered defence, so that all the bad guys can get to is information that is of no value."
QuintessenceLabs employs more than 60 people, with the majority based at its Canberra headquarters.
It has clients in government, defence and banking and will also soon branch into health.
Canberra Business Chamber chief executive Robyn Hendry said while QuintessenceLabs was the first ACT firm to be selected as a technology pioneer, it probably wouldn't be the last.
"Canberra is building an excellent reputation in IT and cyber security, with our local businesses making a name for themselves on the world stage," Ms Hendry said.