Maryland Becoming Cybersecurity Hub

The Maryland/Israel Development Center Plays Pivotal Role

This summer when Governor Larry Hogan announced that Elta North America, an Israeli owned defense manufacturer, was opening a Cyber Innovation Center in Maryland, Barry Bogage couldn’t have been more pleased. As he stood near the Governor he knew that it was his tireless behind-the-scenes efforts as the executive director of the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC)* that proved pivotal to this Maryland business success.

Elta was just the first cybersecurity announcement in a busy summer for MIDC. In a little more than a week, Electronic Technology Associates (ETA) and Cyberbit, the cybersecurity spinoff of Israeli defense contractor Elbit would announce it was opening Baltimore Cyber Range. This first hands-on cybersecurity training center will train professionals through threat simulations; it is located in Spark Baltimore, near the Inner Harbor.

As Maryland makes efforts to become, as Governor Hogan would like to see, the “cyber capital of America,” MIDC has become a valuable resource. With Israel, a dominant player in the cybersecurity market – second only to the United States – MIDC’s relationships will prove invaluable to this initiative.

Both the Elta and the Cyberbit deals were finalized and announced last fall, during the Governor’s trade mission to Israel. That mission, organized by the MIDC, played a key role toward finalizing many of the details. According to Bogage, that even included suggesting to the Governor to include David Cordish in his meeting with Cyberbit, which spurred the company’s decision to locate in downtown Baltimore.

Cyberbit’s CEO Bruce Specter made a point to “thank Barry Bogage of the Maryland/Israel Development Center for his invaluable assistance getting the Baltimore Cyber Range off the ground,” pointing to the fact that Barry and MIDC introduced their company and Elbit to Governor Hogan.

Elta, meanwhile, one of Israel’s leading defense contractors and the manufacturer of the radar systems for the Iron Dome, first committed to locating its North American headquarters in the state in 2012, thanks to the efforts of MIDC. Then when Elta began thinking about establishing its cybersecurity innovation center in the United States, MIDC began cultivating the company and bringing in the Governor and his staff.

“Maryland offers a number of benefits for cybersecurity companies, from its trained workforce as the home of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, to its close proximity to customers who depend on cybersecurity, such as the FBI, Social Security Administration and all the other government agencies that manage and protect huge databases of information.,” says Bogage. “And we have a Governor who is committed to making Maryland a cybersecurity powerhouse.”

The opening of the Cyber Innovation Center adds credibility, advancing Maryland’s efforts as a “hub” for cybersecurity businesses. It also brings jobs, with the potential to grow to hundreds of jobs in Maryland over the next several years, Bogage says.

In addition to the two Israeli cyber powerhouses who have established headquarters here, MIDC also encouraged Israeli start-up Sepio Systems to locate in the state. Sepio Systems specializes in protecting peripheral devices, such as printers and computer mouses, which often are used by hackers to access personal information on computers.

In its efforts to grow the cybersecurity industry in Maryland, each year MIDC brings a small contingent of Maryland business leaders to CyberTech in Tel Aviv. CyberTech is one of the leading cyber technology conferences in the world. It is here that the organization is able to cultivate potential businesses interested in establishing offices in the United States and seek cyber partnerships between Israeli and Maryland companies.

Based on his meetings and conversations with Israeli cyber firms, Bogage believes the Maryland climate is ripe for additional Israeli cybersecurity firms to locate their American headquarters here and expects to have further announcements in the next year.

*MIDC is a joint program of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and the Maryland Department of Commerce played a role as facilitator.

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