Proofpoint, which currently employs 18 people at its Northern Ireland office at Weaver's Court, said it expects to take on 94 members of staff by the end of 2016.The announcement follows the firm's acquisition of local company Mail Distiller Limited last year, and has been welcomed by Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster."I had the pleasure of meeting with Proofpoint's CEO Gary Steele during my visit to the US last month and took the opportunity to highlight the strength of our growing IT sector and our track-record of partnership working between our ICT and academic sectors," she said."I am delighted to be able to make this announcement so soon after that meeting."Proofpoint, which has its headquarters in California, is a leading security-as-a-service vendor which delivers data protection solutions.The company said its Belfast operation will become the research and development and operations centre for Proofpoint Essentials and will work with clients in Europe, Middle East and Africa.Gary Steele of Proofpoint said: "In Belfast our strategic objective is to broaden the distribution and support networks for our current suite of products. The acquisition of Mail Distiller provided us with a platform to grow the small and medium sized businesses segment of our business.CHAR(13) + CHAR(10) CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)"We have been very impressed with the technology ecosystem in NI, which shares many of the characteristics of Silicon Valley, including access to world-class cyber-security research at QUB."Invest NI has offered support of £611,000 towards Proofpoint's total investment of £6,388,780.