Why the Tenable deal matters to Maryland's cybersecurity future - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Nov. 10, 2015 12:59 pm

Why the Tenable deal matters to Maryland’s cybersecurity future

After a record-setting, $250 million raise, talk of Maryland as a Silicon Valley of cyber.

NSA headquarters at Fort Meade.

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Tenable Network Security’s record-setting $250 million raise arrives amid a new push to turn Maryland into a true cybersecurity hub.

The Columbia-based company was already one of the flag-bearers for the area, with a global presence and a CEO in Ron Gula who started the company after working at the NSA, which is headquartered in Fort Meade.

Now the company has a headline-grabbing raise and potentially more moves to come. But at the same time, Tenable has committed to Maryland.

Earlier this year, the company received $1.1 million in loans from Howard County and Maryland’s business development agency. About half of its 600-member workforce is located here, and the company is looking toward hiring of “hundreds” more employees by 2020.

"Silicon Valley gets a lot of attention, but we hope that this area becomes appreciated for the talent that it can provide."
Steve Vintz, Tenable

Tenable’s expansion is great news for Maryland’s economy and the cybersecurity community,” Gov. Larry Hogan said upon hearing of Tenable’s June 29 announcement. “I’m excited to know this company will continue to grow and thrive in our state with the addition of hundreds of jobs over the next five years.”

Tenable CFO Steve Vintz told Technical.ly Tuesday that the company would likely have to address the need for more space. But even if they move they are looking to stay in Maryland, which he said is “arguably the cyber capital of the world” with NSA headquarters and a growing constellation of cybersecurity firms.

“Silicon Valley gets a lot of attention, but we hope that this area becomes appreciated for the talent that it can provide,” Vintz said.

Art Jacoby, chair of the recently-formed trade group Cybersecurity Association of Maryland, Inc., said he recently saw Gula give a presentation on Tenable’s software offerings, which monitors company’s networks and firewalls, and detects potential vulnerability to hackers, among other things.

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“It’s one of the best technology presentations I’ve ever seen in my life,” said the longtime advisor and investor, who was part of a team that recently launched Buy MD Cyber to encourage companies to buy from companies in the state.

Jacoby credits Tenable’s growth to tenacity in sales and marketing, which he said is especially important in a field where companies are usually formed by engineers.

And in a still-early industry where lots of products are being marketed, Jacoby said he believes Tenable’s “solutions do what they say they do.”

Like Cisco’s 2013 acquisition of Sourcefire, Jacoby said Tenable’s record-setting raise was among “game-changing milestones” for the industry as a whole that can help “raise the sea” for all companies in Maryland.

At the same time, he said, “This doesn’t surprise me. We have world-class talent here.”

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