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Md. cyber companies increasingly looking abroad for growth

Sepio, a Rockville company that helps employers see what physical devices are accessing their networks, was one of the Maryland businesses attending Infosecurity Europe 2022. (Courtesy Sepio)

Cybersecurity is becoming a major part of Maryland’s workforce, with government agencies like the National Security Agency and Fort Meade housed in the state. But with the increased demand for cyber services, information security companies in Maryland also are looking to expand their reach across the world.

Seven companies headquartered in Maryland attended Infosecurity Europe 2022. The largest gathering of the information security network in Europe was held from June 21-23 and provided businesses with an opportunity to network and grow their companies.

After the conference, Baltimore-based Sicura, a data protection company, said it will be exploring a business deal with a company in Turkey, an arrangement that probably could not have happened without the two meeting at Infosec.

“One of those leads was another international partner, a contracting company based out of Turkey,” said Kendall Moore, Sicura’s chief product officer. “Before this trip, I had never had Turkey on my radar, but just knowing how well-aligned their cybersecurity goals are, I would say that is something that we are looking to expand into that we weren’t looking at previously.

When the Maryland Department of Commerce heard that some Maryland-based companies were planning to attend the conference, they reached out to others to gauge their interest, Moore said.

Among the coalition from Maryland that attended the conference was Adinkra Solutions Group, the first Black, woman-led company to attend Infosec in the last 10-15 years, according to Dr. Himide Hardy-Pointer, the Baltimore company’s executive director.

Sepio, a Rockville-based company that helps companies see what physical devices are accessing their networks, said a big value of attending Infosec was not only meeting potential clients but learning about rivals in their field.

“Making those connections that lead to sales,” said Jessie Amado, head of cyber research at Sepio, when asked what was the biggest benefit of Infosec. “We also saw what other similar companies are doing, including some of our competition.”

For Galaxkey, which focuses on protecting data and on email encryption, Infosec, which had not been held the past couple years because of COVID, gave the company a chance to raise its profile.

“It was busy,” said Peter Clowes, global sales director for Galaxkey, which is headquartered in Baltimore. “Most of the big players in the industry were there. It was a good thing to be a part of. To have a presence there with all of the big players, it was good.”

While Infosec was a great way to network and establish connections, Amado said, deals rarely get done at the event. Instead, connections are made and deals are sometimes created afterwards. This is happening for Sicura, which has a proof-of-concept lined up with a potential client the company met at Infosec.

“There was one group that we met there who we know we will be doing a trial with, and we feel pretty good about the work coming out of it,” Moore said.

Many of the tech executives from Maryland who attended Infosec said that international business is assuming a major role in their growth plans. Sicura, for instance, now has a major client in London.

Still, they emphasized that U.S. clients remain a backbone of their business. Adinkra has worked with companies like the National Institute of Health and FEMA’s risk management team, while Sicura has worked with the IBM federal cloud team.