The cyber security push continues at UMBC
If you've been within earshot of Gov. Martin O'Malley or Sen. Barbara Mikulski over the past year, you've no doubt heard them talk about the concept of "Cyber Maryland." The two public officials are some of the most ardent promoters of the cyber security industry in the country, and they're pushing it hard for Maryland.
And today, they pushed for it hard again -- this time at the University of Maryland Baltimore County's "bwtech" campus for technology startup companies. O'Malley and Mikulski helped mark the opening of the "Cync" program, a partnership between UMBC and Northrop Grumman to incubate cyber security companies. A bunch of executives from big and small organizations, from Northrop to the NSA, rounded out a panel of "experts" who led a short discussion on the cyber security industry and its needs.
I've had the chance to listen to Sen. Mikulski speak on several occasions, and I have to hand it to her: she has a great knack for the soundbite and for crystallizing complex issues in fairly simple ways for us laypeople to understand. In talking about the cyber security threat and online identity theft, the senator dropped this gem:
"You don't need a visa to come here to steal [someone's] Visa card."
While overall government spending on defense is expected to tighten, spending on cyber security, many believe, will remain robust. And that's good news for Maryland and its federal facilities, from the National Security Agency and the Defense Information Services Agency, to the private contractors who support them.
In the past two years, UMBC's bwtech has attracted 16 cyber security companies.
UMBC and Northrop Grumman introduced the first two companies accepted into the Cync program: Rogue Networks, which is developing monitoring tools for large networks, and Five Directions, which enables high-security file sharing between public and private cloud networks.
So, this CYNC venture, from Northrop's perspective, is about seeding small companies that they can partner with to provide technology to their big clients. Northrop doesn't have any exclusive rights with these start-ups, i.e. first dibs on acquiring them.
And for UMBC, it's all about creating opportunities for their students after they graduate. "For all the employers in the room, we have no shame. We're looking for jobs for our students," said UMBC's president, Freeman A. Hrabowski III.
Below is the governor with the CEO of another bwtech incubator company, Fearless Solutions (I forgot to write his name down! Anyone have it? Drop it in the comments below.)
(Update: The CEO's name is Delali Dzirasa. Thanks @UMBCscitech for sharing his name.)
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech