Innovative cybersecurity programs protect businesses and federal agencies.
Greater Baltimore is the epicenter of innovation in cybersecurity thanks to advantages like its uniquely qualified workforce with off-the-chart levels of educational attainment, the presence of the U.S. Cyber Command and other key federal installations, a major technology and communications sector and investment opportunities.
Due to Greater Baltimore’s wealth of resources and talent, cybersecurity and associated companies and organizations are able to proactively develop solutions to cyber threats before they take shape. The region has more than double the national density in many cyber-related occupations, including computer and information research scientists, information security analysts, network support specialists, systems administrators, software developers and computer hardware engineers.
Advantages include research assets such as the National Security Agency at Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Grounds, the 72,000-acre military installation in Harford County that houses some of the world’s top talent in research, development, testing and evaluation of materials.
Maryland is home to more than 40 federal agencies and 12 major installations. Fort Meade, which already was home to the National Security Agency, became the headquarters of the newly formed U.S. Cyber Command in 2010. Anne Arundel County, where Fort Meade is located, has attracted a number of cyber-related developments.
“The Baltimore region has emerged as a national nexus for the cybersecurity industry,â€ says Donald Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. “This industry is not only fueling high-paying jobs, it’s attracting highly educated talent from around the country and making the region an even more attractive place to do business.”
Maryland has 16 Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, more than any other state, and the Baltimore-Washington region also boasts more computer science degree graduates than anywhere else in the nation.
“The significant presence of federal agencies and installations, our educational institutions and a vibrant research community that supports startups as well as more mature companies creates an ecosystem to support the growing cybersecurity industry unequaled anywhere outside of Greater Baltimore,â€ says Michele Whelley, president and CEO of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore (EAGB).
EAGB is the economic development organization for Greater Baltimore, bringing together business, government, education and nonprofit organizations to market the region’s economic development assets and opportunities.
The region is rich in resources supporting cybersecurity startups. The bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park Cyber Incubator, for example, provides business and technical support to early-stage companies in the IT and cybersecurity spaces.
It’s no surprise that the Washington, D.C., metro area has one of the highest concentrations of cybersecurity firms in the nation. These include 11 companies headquartered in Greater Baltimore that are on the Cybersecurity 500 list of Cybersecurity Ventures.
One of those companies, network security firm Tenable, is taking 150,000 square feet in a 12-story building in downtown Columbia’s Merriweather District that will serve as its headquarters. The new space will accommodate the firm’s rapid growth and demonstrate the economic significance of the industry.
The decision to expand in Columbia reaffirms Tenable’s long-standing commitment to Maryland, says Steve Vintz, the company’s chief financial officer.
“Our move to downtown Columbia will provide a live-work-play environment for employees, accommodate future growth and allow us to be part of the area’s exciting transformation,â€ he says.
The cybersecurity industry is attractive to investors. Hanover-based KeyW Holding Corp., for example, agreed to merge with Jacobs and Atom Acquisition Sub Inc. in a transaction valued at $815 million.
KeyW is an intelligence, cyber and mission IT and analytics solutions provider. Jacobs delivers professional services focusing on global connectivity and sustainability in such areas as intelligence, water, infrastructure, renewal and mobility. The company brought in $15 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2018.
The region’s private sector assets include the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland Inc. (CAMI), which has 483 members, including cybersecurity companies and Maryland service providers.
“The association serves as the leading voice for the industry. CAMI provides valuable connections, resources and sales-generating opportunities for its members,â€ says Gina Abate, CAMI’s chair and president and CEO of Edwards Performance Solutions.