Modern field guide to security and privacy

Starting up cybersecurity’s next innovations

Globally, Northrop Grumman is making investments in research and early-stage cybersecurity ventures that will help build tomorrow’s cutting-edge technology

Tomorrow’s top cybersecurity technologies won’t happen by accident.

Like today’s leading cybersecurity solutions, tomorrow’s innovations will be incubated somewhere: in the labs of leading universities, the research departments of corporations and in the minds of clever technologists and entrepreneurs.

With global cybersecurity needs spiraling upward, Northrop Grumman is helping support the next generation of leading cyber research on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the United Kingdom, Northrop will serve as an industry partner in CyberInvest, a £6.5 million ($10 million) public/private sector initiative by the U.K. government aimed at bolstering cybersecurity academic research investment to ensure the U.K. maintains its competitive advantage and keeps pace with technology and the evolving worldwide threat environment.

"Academic collaborations provide the opportunity to access innovation, to co-develop research, to make entry-level investments in technology, and to fund the researchers in the field who may become tomorrow's cyber leaders," said Kathy Warden, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Information Systems, speaking before an audience at this year’s IA15 Conference hosted by the UK Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ). "The benefit of strategic research to solve mission-realistic challenges is a shared responsibility of government and industry so we are proud to be a part of this critically important initiative."

Under CyberInvest, Northrop Grumman is one of several partners providing investment funds over the next five years to spur innovative approaches and to collaborate with researchers to address the cyber threat. Northrop Grumman will also sponsor clearances for academics and have a view into the totality of cybersecurity research across the Academic Centres of Excellence, Research Institutes and Centres for Doctoral Training.

Leveraging research talent from every corner of the globe is the idea behind the company’s latest initiative, the Advanced Cyber Technology Center (ACTC). With centers located in the US, the UK, and Australia, the ACTC is bringing together technologists and partners to rapidly develop solutions to the toughest cyber challenges faced by our nation and its allies.

Back in the US, too, strategic cyber research is underway. In 2009, Northrop established a US-based Cybersecurity Research Consortium that includes Carnegie-Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue University, and University of Southern California.

Investments in new cybersecurity ventures are also bearing fruit with the continued success of the Northrop Grumman Cync incubator program at bwtech@UMBC. In October, Cync graduated its sixth cybersecurity start-up, Ayasdi. Based in Menlo Park, Calif., with offices in the Cyber Incubator at bwtech@UMBC, Ayasdi’s machine intelligence software uses Topological Data Analysis to simplify how knowledge is extracted from the most complex data sets to help governments and enterprises make the right operational decisions quickly.  

"As a leading cyber provider to the federal government, we have an obligation to foster innovation to ensure that the best ideas are made available to our nation to stay ahead of the ever evolving threat," said Chris Valentino, director of strategy, cyber division, Northrop Grumman Information Systems. "No one company can do it all, it's innovation from all corners of the world that will make the difference so giving a boost to those with great ideas is what our partnership is about as we strive to keep our global networks safe."

Cync is a global cyber start-up initiative designed to cultivate the brightest ideas in cybersecurity and commercialize these innovations for use in the federal marketspace. Formed in 2011 by Northrop Grumman and bwtech@UMBC, this unique partnership creates a pathway for technology-driven start-ups to speed advanced solutions to customers while providing extensive business incubation expertise and access to capital and talent to help companies thrive.

Cync graduates include DB Networks, KoolSpan, AccelerEyes (ArrayFire), Five Directions and Oculis Labs. Current occupants at Cync include iWebGate (headquartered in Perth, Australia) and Baltimore-based firms Light Point Security and OptioLabs. The newest start-ups that joined Cync in November are Leverege of Baltimore and ParaTools, with roots at the University of Oregon.

And perhaps there’s something for the UK to learn from Cync’s experience: the Chancellor of the Exchequer recently announced the creation of a new Cyber Innovation Centre in Cheltenham to house cyber start-ups in their early months, giving them the best possible support and drawing on the cyber talent and resources in the area around the British GCHQ.

The Cync program is currently taking applications, looking for companies that address critical market needs in the areas of cyber, data sciences, big data, secure mobility, and cyber physical systems/critical infrastructure protection. For information about applying to this scholarship program, go to www.bwtechumbc.com.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

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