News reports about large-scale cyber attacks seem to appear more and more frequently every week. Consider the May 12 “WannaCry” malware outbreak, which reportedly affected 300,000 Windows PCs in 150 countries, and shut down major health and rail systems in parts of Europe.
But even small-scale data breaches can be costly. According to one report, 60 percent of small companies cannot sustain their businesses six months after a cyber attack.
In other words, when it comes to must-haves for ensuring the future of your organization, “cybersecurity is universal,” says Ethan Dietrich, CEO of SixGen. “And that’s what our core competency is.”
Dietrich, a former intelligence analyst for the US Army, started SixGen in 2014 with a single goal in mind: to find new ways to help every company, large or small, to quickly identify software vulnerabilities, remove problems, and create solutions. Being an Army veteran, with more than a decade of experience working in counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism and other fields, provided him with a unique perspective in this endeavor, he says.
“The military had a huge impact on me,” he says, adding that it taught him, among other lessons, “how to be successful and the resiliency that was required to start a company.”
The armed services also afforded him with some unique opportunities, including the chance to participate in the Techstars Patriot Boot Camp, an accelerator program for veteran entrepreneurs. The main goal of the aptly named, “rigorous 3- to 4-day program,” Dietrich says, is “to just absorb as much as you can,” including making connections with mentors and uncovering avenues for success.
“That’s the most important thing, joining the community, being part of the community, understanding what assets are available and then not being afraid to ask for help,” says Dietrich who hopes to repay some of that communal generosity as a member of the Maryland Tech Council.
Dietrich recently proposed the formation of a Maryland Cyber Crimes Center, an effort to provide training for law enforcement officials and others to pursue the large number of cyber attacks that fall below the threshold to be considered a federal crime.
“Most [cyber crimes] do not get processed and the general law enforcement population does not know how to handle them,” says Dietrich. “What I am proposing is a cyber crimes center that will welcome cases around Maryland and create standard operating procedures to be more efficient in closing cases.”
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