On April 9th, I attended an event hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) entitled, “What Every CFO Must Know About Cyber Threats and Security.” The affair attracted nearly 200 technology CFOs who were there to hear the CEOs
of Mandiant and KEYW, as well as a special agent for the FBI’s Washington Field Office Cyber Branch.
Mandiant’s CEO talked about economic espionage, with hundreds of companies targeted in economic espionage by the Chinese government on behalf of their sponsored industries.
The FBI special agent spoke about the federal government’s view of cyber security as being predominantly a national security threat that is being dealt with across agencies and with global intelligence and law enforcement partners. There was also discussion of the nation’s power grid; in particular, the SCADA systems, which were cited as being vulnerable.
KEYW’s CEO gave an example of the $5M submarine sandwich, in which a virus embedded in an e-mailed menu made its way to accounts payable and was methodically utilized to make withdrawals to a foreign bank account.
Both the KEYW and Mandiant executives emphasized to the audience that cyber security would cost more than other forms of compliance. Identifying the assets most at risk and then protecting them was of the utmost importance, as was providing basic cyber security training to employees.
Cyber security is an area of particular interest to the Edison Enterprise 2.0 team. Toronto, Boston, and the New York and D.C. metro areas all have strong entrepreneurial communities in cyber security. Our prior successes with BTG, AXENT, and NFR have given us a stable of executive talent to tap. Edison’s Lenard Marcus has several cyber security-focused companies that are currently in due diligence and should make their way into the Edison VII portfolio.
Edison’s Enterprise 2.0 team believes that cyber security will be a growth industry for years to come in our firm’s East Coast investment footprint.