Virginia Becoming a Hot Bed for Cybersecurity
January 21, 2016 Leave a comment
by Rachel Eckert, Senior Analyst
It’s that time of the year when Governors make their “State-of-the-State” speeches to legislatures, outlining their priorities for the upcoming year. Virginia was no different with Governor McAuliffe identifying plans that could position Virginia as the “Silicon Valley” for cybersecurity — providing great opportunities for technology companies in the commonwealth.
Governor McAuliffe announced that Virginia won a competition among 46 other states, and was selected to be the host for the U.S. Air Force’s new Cyber Operation Squadron at Langley Air Force Base — set to be operational in 2017. This move will surely boost the economy and create more jobs in the area. Virginia is also home to the new VISA state-of-the-art cyber fusion center in Ashburn that will provide threat detection and command and control operations for VISA’s payment network. All of these support Governor McAuliffe’s goal to become a cybersecurity powerhouse.
The Governor plans to leverage the local cybersecurity industry to boost the Virginia economy by bringing jobs and helping to insulate the state from the uncertain budget outlook of its biggest employer: the federal government. While more difficult to measure, these two new centers — coupled with the existing cybersecurity industry — will establish Virginia as a center for thought leadership and innovative technologies, spurring more investment in the state. This a great opportunity for technology companies to position themselves while this new cybersecurity industry is developing. Just like trying to shape the RFP before it’s released, IT vendors will want to shape the industry before it solidifies, by building relationships with industry, sharing technologies, and developing the industry in Virginia through partnerships.
Perhaps an indicator of Virginia’s growing cybersecurity industry is a brand new 80 solar-powered megawatt data center opening in Northern Virginia for Amazon Web Services. The state and federal government already rely on services and applications from providers like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. Virginia can see more investment from these providers if it makes strong commitments to renewable energy.
The services and applications provided by these vendors capture and store vital health, education, and government PII data that will make new solar data centers a perfect customer for Virginia’s cybersecurity industry. More investment from firms like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon can boost Virginia’s economy through job creation and spur more investment in Virginia in not only cybersecurity but also other technology areas.
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