Even when companies hosted their network infrastructure in on-site datacenters, it was still a challenge to defend networks and protect sensitive information from cyberattacks. And today’s networks aren’t nearly as simple or straightforward as that.
To help increase flexibility, decrease spending and improve mobility, many private enterprises, government agencies and other organizations are virtualizing network functions, moving their infrastructure into public, private or hybrid cloud environments and embracing other new, disruptive technologies.
Unfortunately, while embracing cloud and virtualization can cuts costs in one way, it can cost companies by increasing their network complexity and making networks harder to secure.
One cybersecurity startup in the National Capital region is looking to help cloud service providers, cloud users and government agencies overcome these challenges. This Chantilly-based cybersecurity company is called Atomicorp, and it’s one of the many exciting technology startups that will be presented during the Technology Showcase at this year’s Mid-Atlantic Growth Conference.
To learn more about Atomicorp and its technologies, we sat down with the company’s CEO, Michael Shinn. During our discussion, we talked about what differentiates Atomicorp’s solutions, why cybersecurity companies are springing up so rapidly in the National Capital region, and where Atomicorp anticipates the most potential for growth.
Here is what Michael had to say:
CGCS: Can you tell our readers about your background and professional experience – specifically in the cybersecurity industry? How has this experience prepared you for your role as CEO of Atomicorp?
Mr. Shinn: I think it helps that I’m both cybersecurity professional and an experienced entrepreneur. I’ve been a security professional for close to 30 years – or longer if you count my time in school. And I’ve been an entrepreneur since 1999.
I’ve been fortunate to build some great companies along the way and to solve some really economically and technically challenging cybersecurity problems, which I think is critical if you’re going to run a cybersecurity company in today’s market. It’s a tough market to compete in if you don’t have a good understanding of the problems you’re solving and the economics involved in those businesses.
CGCS: What does Atomicorp’s suite of solutions do? How are the company’s solutions and service offerings different from those offered by other cybersecurity companies?
We make it easy to secure systems that use and rely upon cloud technologies. Most security products are built around the assumption of more structured environments where the customer has more control over the infrastructure and people involved.
With these new ways of using technology – that’s all gone out the door. A lot of companies are moving to the cloud and are reliant upon cloud technologies that fundamentally disrupt the way we secure systems.
CGCS: Cybersecurity seems to near the top of most enterprise IT priority lists. How has the threat environment and the impact of a breach changed and evolved in the past few years, and what impact has it had on the time, focus and investment companies are putting towards cybersecurity? What other factors are contributing to this trend?
Mr. Shinn: It’s probably not news to any of your audience that the adversaries are now professionals. They are beyond good – they are excellent at what they do. They plan, they budget and they carry out complex attacks that sometimes take years to pan out.
As a result, it’s getting harder to stop the bad guys.
Combine this with fundamental changes in the way we both use and control technology – such as the public cloud, virtualization, software defined networks and Docker – and security products not keeping pace with these changes, and it’s a perfect storm for compromises to occur.
CGCS: What is the Atomicorp’s target market? Does the company only sell to the federal government, or does it sell its solutions into other industries across the private sector as well? Why are these solutions so essential in these markets/industries in particular?
Mr. Shinn: We’re targeting the service provider market – public cloud, hosting and virtualization providers. They’re right in the middle of these collisions of technological change and are targets of better adversaries. They’re looking for better, more economical solutions to these problems that work the way their businesses work.
We made our products specifically for them. That means we ultimately sell our products to their customers, which often includes the federal government. And now we’re seeing federal customers wanting to purchase our products directly for their cloud, virtualization and Docker rollouts.
CGCS: The cybersecurity market seems to be growing rapidly in the National Capital Region. Atomicorp – being based in Chantilly – is just one of many cybersecurity companies headquartered in Northern Virginia and the rest of the DC Metro area. Why is this region such a hotbed for cybersecurity startups and companies today?
Mr. Shinn: In my opinion, it’s the government. You have a lot of high value targets, highly resourced adversaries and regulatory requirements driving both dollars and innovation into this area.
It really gives us an advantage to have local access to such a large labor pool of cybersecurity experts who have had to solve the most challenging problems. There’s really no other place in the world like this market right now for cybersecurity.