Cyber security companies in Maryland getting hot, not bothered
I went to visit a little company in Columbia called Sourcefire a few weeks back, on the trail of a story about what Maryland companies think about President Obama's push to upgrade the nation's cyber security capacity. (Hint: They're not unhappy about it, as my story today sez.)
I met with the company's founder, Martin Roesch (CTO), John Burris (CEO) and Todd Headley (CFO), who gave me and photographer Lloyd Fox a tour of their 300-person shop. Perhaps the funniest thing that struck me is the company's quirky little culture.
They have a mascot -- the Snort pig -- which they use to brand their intrusion prevention products for computer network safety. They have art on the walls of their offices that incorporates the pig, riffing on popular movie posters and art classics.
The Snort pig as "Neo" in The Matrix? As Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa"? (left) Hey -- why not?
Oh, and a classic bumper sticker, hung above founder Martin Roesch's desk: "My kid reads your honor student's email." (photo below) Total. Geek. Humor among the cyber security set who work closely with the alphabet soup of defense and intelligence agencies based in Maryland.
I hope one day my kid grows up knowing how to hack into computer networks (in a benevolent way, on the side of the good guys, of course.)
Needless to say, Sourcefire is humming along. The company has had its ups and downs after it went public a few years ago, but revenue is going up and they're trying to stay lean as possible to get themselves to full-blown profitability.
But their long-term future seems steady, as we move deeper into a world where more of our lives are intricately tied to the virtual spheres we've created for our personal and professional lives.
There are probably hundreds of little companies that are hoping to ride some piece of the cyber security wave in Maryland, as money comes pouring out of Washington. Some state and business leaders think the state can become a "Silicon Valley of cyber security." Some say we're pretty much already established as one.
What do you think?
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