More than 300 cybersecurity professionals from business and academia attended the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland Inc.’s (CAMI) second annual awards ceremony in March, held at the American Visionary Art Museum, in Baltimore.
According to CAMI Executive Director Stacey Smith, the organization has grown since its founding in 2016 to include nearly 400 Maryland cybersecurity companies as members.
That growth has extended to CAMI’s mission, which now includes workforce initiatives and the recent launch of a nationally unique skills-based cybersecurity jobs portal.
CAMI also has intensified its legislative agenda, working with State Sen. Guy Guzzone (D-Dist. 13) on his sponsorship of Senate Bill 228, which would provide a tax credit for qualified investors in Maryland cybersecurity companies.
“It would also establish the nation’s first ‘buy local’ tax credit for businesses with 50 employees or fewer who buy their cybersecurity solutions, both products and services, from Maryland cybersecurity providers,” Smith said. “We will find out within the next two weeks if that bill goes into effect.”
According to CAMI Board Chair Gina Abate, who serves as president of Edwards Performance Solutions, in Elkridge, CAMI will expand its business outreach effort this year with its new Connect to Protect program.
“We’ve developed a high impact video and helpful cybersecurity tips presented in as few as 20 minutes by one of our experienced cybersecurity professionals within the organization,” Abate said.
The multimedia presentation serves as a tool to engage and educate business leaders at industry trade organization events, chamber of commerce meetings, Rotary club luncheons and other business gatherings.
During the awards event, CAMI Board Member Jay Turakhia of PNC Bank recognized the young women from Montgomery Blair High School and Poolesville High School who participated in this year’s national Girls Go CyberStart competition program, developed by the SANS Institute. Competing against more than 2,200 teams from 17 different states, teams from these two schools took four of the event’s top five spots, including best overall team.
Best of the Counties
Several Maryland counties created their own judging processes to evaluate CAMI award nominees from their jurisdictions, selecting one nominee to receive a separate county-level award.
Vice President, Communications, Rosa Cruz of the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corp. (AAEDC) presented the 2018 Best of Anne Arundel County award to Bridges Consulting, of Hanover.
The Best of Baltimore County award, presented by Director Will Anderson of the Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development, went to Syncopated Engineering, an incubator company located at bwtech@UMBC.
Howard County Chamber of Commerce CEO Leonardo McClarty presented the Best of Howard County award to Enveil, of Fulton.
The CyberWire, of Fulton, was recognized as CAMI’s Diversity Trailblazer award winner, recognizing a company or organization that has pledged its support to attract more women and minorities to cybersecurity careers.
“With more than 1 million open cyber-related jobs, only 11% of the workforce is female,” said presenter Spencer Wilcox, of Exelon Corp. “They created a very popular, well-attended annual Women in Cybersecurity reception [where] those just starting out in their careers have the chance to meet the technical and business professionals who are shaping the future of cybersecurity.”
The AAEDC received the Industry Resource award, which recognizes a non-cybersecurity entity that has significantly contributed to Maryland’s cybersecurity industry.
“Their Defense Tech Toolbox helps numerous cybersecurity government contractors capture new business in the federal government market,” said Winquest Security CEO Jon Leitch, who presented the award. AAEDC has committed $200,000 under its Next Stage Tech Fund with an additional $800,000 in the pipeline, provides a complimentary Consultants on Call program that has served two-dozen companies, and operates a workforce training grants program covering a maximum of $1,000 per employee.
Ellen Hemmerly, executive director of bwtech@UMBC, was selected as Cybersecurity Champion of the year, presented by South River Technologies CEO Michael Ryan.
“About 10 years ago this former banker, venture capitalist and economic development leader saw a need for early stage cybersecurity company incubation,” Ryan said. Her work has led to a cyberincubator which currently houses 48 cybersecurity companies, 34 of which are minority-, women- or veteran-owned.
CAMI’s 2018 Cybersecurity Company to Watch award spotlighting an emerging company that has displayed exceptional vision and demonstrated plans for exceptional future growth went to Cyber Crucible of Severna Park.
“With a patented automated solution, Cyber Crucible’s product enhances both intrusion detection and response,” said Brian Hubbard, director of the Commercial Strategic Business Unit for Edwards Performance Solutions. “The result reduces the workload on cyber experts and improves the response time, data loss, forensic analysis cost and subsequent legal, regulatory and business impacts.”
CAMI’s Cybersecurity Defender of the Year award, given to a cybersecurity services company that has succeeded in protecting businesses and government entities from cyberthreats and/or damages, went to CSIOS Corp., of Rockville.
Enveil received the Cybersecurity Innovator of the Year award, presented to a company demonstrating exceptional innovation with a technology designed to protect business and government entities from cyber threats, attacks or damages.
“Enveil is revolutionizing data security by mitigating data-in-use vulnerability that has eluded others for decades,” said PSA Insurance & Financial Solutions Vice President Mike Volk. “This allows enterprises to securely operate on both encrypted and unencrypted data in the cloud, on-premises or anywhere in the community. It has the potential to open large and previously impossible business use cases across multiple verticals.”
Enveil Team Member Jacob Wilder said his company was very excited to see its groundbreaking technology recognized.
“We have a truly unique capability that allows enterprises to operate securely with data the way they never could before,” he said. “We’re looking forward to bringing our nation state-level of security to companies everywhere.”
Emma Garrison-Alexander, vice dean of Cybersecurity Information Assurance for the University of Maryland University College, received the People’s Choice award presented by Ron and Cyndi Gula, cofounders of Gula Tech Adventures.
“This is very special and highlights the fact that cybersecurity is important not just on an individual level, but also to the community and to our government,” Garrison-Alexander said. “I’m very happy to be part of that community and making an impact that’s going to benefit society, individuals and our entire community.”