“A Premier Geography” for Cyber
The Cybersecurity industry has seen exponential growth over the past two decades. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, including the Greater Baltimore Region. Greater Baltimore’s proximity to the US Cyber Command at Fort Meade, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, NSA and a number of other Federal security and intelligence agencies has certainly seeded and nurtured that growth.
This growth continues unabated, creating job opportunities at all skill levels and attracting funding for our research institutions as well as for start-up companies churning out new products and processes. According to data warehouse Burning Glass and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, businesses and organizations in the Baltimore area posted more than 42,000 tech job openings in the 12-month period ending July 2018 (Technical.ly, October 2018). In terms of funding – Hanover, Anne Arundel County-based cyber startup Dragos Inc. closed a $37 million series B funding round, helping to make 2018 a top year for tech funding in the Greater Baltimore region (Baltimore Business Journal, December 2018).
The growth in cybersecurity is complemented by significant growth in the IT/data industry, with increasing demand in jobs requiring a solid grounding in STEM education, including data analysis and data science. It is clear that the demand in cyber and IT/data exists and will grow.
To meet this demand, the essential infrastructure must also exist and grow – most critically a workforce prepared for cyber and IT/data jobs at all skill levels and funding to fuel research and new businesses. The Greater Baltimore Region’s economic development professionals and educational/training institutions are increasingly focused on building the workforce and investment infrastructure to support the cybersecurity and IT-related work underway at public and private organizations to ensure that they can and will continue to grow in Greater Baltimore.
This infrastructure is also a critical need for private and public sector organizations outside of national defense – healthcare institutions, financial institutions, law firms, transportation and logistics, and many other industries that rely on research and data analysis to improve their products, the delivery of services or expansion of their markets, as well as research and data that must be protected. These organizations rely on the ability to hire the expertise needed or outsource the work to companies that can provide the products and/or services they need to conduct their core business. It is this wealth of expertise that attracts and retains some of the Region’s major employers. One such example is Morgan Stanley.
The richness of Cybersecurity and data science expertise in the Region is the primary reason why, in 2016, Morgan Stanley made a decision to locate some of its sophisticated global cyber defense capabilities in its Baltimore, Maryland offices. As a major global financial services firm with locations in 41 countries, protection against cyber risk is crucial for Morgan Stanley. Given the financial services sector is a target for various threat actors, it’s important for the firm to have leading-edge cyber defense capabilities and talent.
This wealth of agencies, private businesses, and educational institutions also sends a powerful message that the strength of the Cyber and IT/Data industries is deep and wide-ranging. Mr. Dandridge agrees, “The cyber and analytic ecosystem in the Baltimore region is vast and highly conducive to the sharing of intelligence and best practices. We’re excited to be a part of this growing workforce and partnership.”
Providing the infrastructure for the continued growth of cybersecurity and IT/Data will not only serve the growth needs of agencies, institutions and companies currently in the Region, but will also serve to attract additional employers looking to locate where they can easily find the workforce they need to succeed.
The EAGB considers the cybersecurity and IT/Data industry sectors critical components of its economic development marketing platform. The Alliance is working closely with its economic development partners that make up the core of the Region’s “premier geography” including Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford and Howard Counties, as well as stakeholders such as the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland (CAMI) and Maryland Technology Council (MTC), in order to foster and support initiatives that will strengthen the workforce and investment infrastructure required for these industries to grow.
EAGB is proud to partner with The Cybersecurity Association of Maryland, Inc. (CAMI) led by President & CEO Stacey Smith. CAMI is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization formed in 2015 to operate the Buy MD Cyber (BMC) program. BMC is designed to connect Maryland's cybersecurity companies with local, national and global buyers via the www.buymdcyber.com website and face-to-face through special events and activities hosted by BMC and its partnering organizations, including the EAGB. Companies seeking cybersecurity solutions for their businesses can find a Directory of Maryland cybersecurity companies at www.MDcyber.com.
The Region boasts some of the highest rates of computer and math degree holders in the nation, ranking 1st and 2nd respectively. Community colleges have developed curricula in certificate and 2-year degree programs to develop the skills needed for entry career-pathway jobs in cybersecurity. Expansion of apprenticeship programs will provide on-the-job training in companies that can provide a career pathway in cybersecurity and related technologies. Here are two examples of the many training programs throughout the Region...
The iCyberCenter is located in the Cyber Incubator within the bwtech@UMBC Research & Technology Park and leverages its vibrant cyber support eco-system and strategic location. The CEO-level iCyberCenter@bwtech’s Executive Training Program for overseas cyber entrepreneurs provides direct help to international cyber business leaders in order accelerate their understanding of the US cyber market, develop the most effective US market entry business strategies, and to make critical introductions to potential buyers.
In 2018, Harford Community College received a $466,488 grant to address the growing regional demand for qualified cybersecurity technicians. The college developed an accelerated, 18-month Information Assurance and Cybersecurity Associate of Applied Sciences degree program to help build the regional workforce pipeline. Many of HCC’s programs include a cooperative education or internship component that allows students to gain work-based learning experience with local employers.