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Lockheed taps local startup to join tech heavyweights

A young Baltimore startup has been pulled up to the big league of cybersecurity warriors.

CyberPoint International, a 4-year-old, 160-employee tech firm, is the newest addition to Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Cyber Security Alliance, becoming the youngest and only privately held company to join a team that includes the likes of Microsoft, Verizon and Cisco.

The alliance, created in 2009, aims to bring together leading tech companies in a pursuit to thwart cyber adversaries.

That’s a never-ending task, said Roger Mann, Lockheed’s Middle East managing director for information systems and global solutions. Network hackers and attackers are constantly finding new ways to infiltrate systems. Each of Lockheed’s allies contributes its own technology and expertise to fill in the security gaps that could endanger systems.

“In the information, communication, technology realm, you have many different platforms,” said Mann. “They’re all relevant to this mission that we’re sharing together in the alliance.”

By teaming up companies across these platforms, he explained, the group can get a better idea of what vulnerabilities exist at all levels and how to keep hackers from exploiting them.

It was CyberPoint’s targeted approach and active presence in the Middle East that made it an attractive teammate, said Mann. The company has permanent offices in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

“We are very interested in the Middle East,” said Paul Kurtz, CyberPoint’s chief strategy officer. “They are seeing some problems there that we don’t see in the states.”

The company’s major product, DarkPoint, analyzes malware so that it can be mediated fully and more quickly. This is especially important in other parts of the world, said Mann, like the Middle East, because those regions often lack the human capital needed to analyze and address malicious programs quickly and effectively.

Less-effective solutions, Mann said, are comparable to a firefighter who doesn’t finish the job — all the work can still result in destruction.

“If they put out that blaze seemingly and they leave, but there’s a smolder somewhere that kindles … that’s what happens when you don’t fully mediate malware,” he said.

CyberPoint is notably smaller than many of its new allies. Size and staying power are certainly considerations in choosing partners, Mann said, but Lockheed had good reason to trust its young neighbor. Members of the company’s leadership team have worked for Lockheed before, or partnered with the company on other projects.

“This company is not only innovating, they’re growing,” said Mann. “We don’t have concerns of them going away at all.”

The alliance could be a part of that growth, said Kurtz, as it presents the opportunity to rub elbows with leaders in the cyber industries and learn from their technologies and expertise.

“The platform base, the device base and the hardware and software continue to evolve,” he said. “It’s always moving, it’s always changing. The bad guys are always trying to take advantage of that.”

Since cyber enemies will continue to collude, he said, it’s important for the protectors to do so as well.

“There is every reason for the good guys to cooperate and work together,” he said. “If the good guys operate inside silos … the bad guys are going to continue to have a field day.”