Colorado Leads and Grows as Cybersecurity Hotbed
Colorado cybersecurity companies have the opportunity to capitalize on growing reputation for innovation and leadership
Colorado has become one of the leading technology hubs in the country. Last year, Forbes reported that tech jobs increased in the Denver metro area alone by more than 40 percent since 2016.
In addition to growing, the market is also maturing.
As a result, we're seeing an evolution from a general tech market to one recognized for specific concentrations and expertise. One important field in which Colorado has developed a leadership role is in the red-hot cybersecurity market. This sector has matured to envelop a myriad of aspects from endpoint and perimeter security, data encryption and cloud security. Identity security is currently the primary threat vector: According to the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, more than 80 percent of hacking-related breaches leveraged either stolen passwords and/or weak or guessable passwords.
A STRONG FOUNDATION
While Colorado has one of the nation's most robust startup markets, the roots of today's success can be traced back to the contributions of a number of legacy technology companies that have had operations in Colorado for decades. In the middle of the 20th century, companies like IBM and Ball Aerospace launched operations in Colorado and created many new jobs for the state's growing population. Because these companies needed to secure their data long before today's connected world put data breaches on the front-page of newspapers daily, the foundation for a robust cybersecurity ecosystem was born. The communications and storage industries also boomed in Colorado, creating security expertise that spawned new innovations and companies.
Given a move to a connected business world, cybercrimes today affect virtually all industries, situating Colorado's cybersecurity sector on a global stage. Indeed, a report by Cybersecurity Ventures projected a $6 trillion annual price tag for global cybercrimes by 2012 (up from $3 trillion in 2015,) Colorado cybersecurity companies have a strong opportunity to capitalize on a growing reputation for innovation and leadership.
In addition to educating and attracting a talented pool of employees, Colorado has nurtured a leading ecosystem for cybersecurity professionals. The state is home to a number of leading cybersecurity organizations, including recognized names like Optiv, LogRhythm, Ping Identity and Webroot, as well as a number of cybersecurity divisions for major companies, including KPMG and CenturyLink. Finally, Colorado boasts one of the only cybersecurity-focused accelerators in the nation, Darkfield, led by Managing Directors Alex Kreilein and Dave Odom.
"Colorado has long enjoyed a unique high density of startup companies focused around data analysis, artificial intelligence and software-focused security. As a result, Colorado's cybersecurity community is now able to focus on creating new value that addresses the most challenging problems facing technology today – those around trust and intelligence," contends Kreilein.
Because of the deep expertise in cybersecurity in Colorado, companies in other areas often become a cybersecurity leaders even though it's not their core business. Kreilein points to Sendgrid, a global brand in marketing communications, as a company whose core business takes user security so seriously that it has become a security leader in its field.
Given this level of support, the state's cybersecurity industry is doing better now than it has ever before, with several Colorado cybersecurity firms having received venture capital funding in the last year. ProtectWise raised $25 million, Red Canary raised more than $6 million in August 2016 and CyberGRX received $20 million in 2017. My company, OverWatchID, a secured more than $2 million in private placement funding last year to deploy the most robust converged identity security platform to leading customers.
Finally, while Colorado is big enough to have critical mass in cybersecurity, the market is small enough to foster a close-knit, supportive community. Leaders and colleagues alike remain accessible, creating a collaborative environment to develop the best talent and some of the most advanced cybersecurity solutions in the world.
Data breaches are not going away, and as the threat of cyberattracks continues to increase, Colorado's cybersecurity industry is scaling to meet the challenge. We have a seat at the leader's table in this growing – and critically important – market, and through a constant commitment to advancing innovation, the state of Colorado will continue to be a cybersecurity hub for the entire world.
Cameron Williams is the founder and CTO of OverWatchID, the industry's first converged identity security platform, comprising Privilege Account Management, Cloud Access Security Brokering, Identity Access Management and MultiFactor Authentification in a multi-tenant SaaS platform. Click here for more information.