Augusta, Ga., Establishes Itself as Cybersecurity Hub

A new trade group coalition hopes to make business and political leaders outside the state more aware of its prominent role in cybersecurity-related policy, and research and development.

by Damon Cline, The Augusta Chronicle / January 19, 2016

(TNS) — An Atlanta-based technology organization expects to bring more national attention to Augusta’s growing cybersecurity industry through the formation of a trade association.

The Technology Asso­cia­tion of Georgia reported today that the new trade group, to be based in Atlanta and called the National Tech­no­logy Security Coali­tion, will serve as an umbrella organization in the fight against the “digital or physical disruption to information systems of U.S. companies, governmental authorities and individuals.”

Association President and CEO Tino Mantella said the coalition will have a national focus but will help make business and political leaders outside Georgia more aware of the prominent role the Peach State plays in national cybersecurity-related policy and research and development.

He pointed out that Geor­gia has eight nationally recognized cybersecurity programs at colleges and universities statewide, and that metro Atlanta’s corporate cybersecurity market accounts for 25 percent of the global security revenue market – or roughly $4.7 billion.

And, of course, Augusta’s Fort Gordon is home to the Cyber Center of Excellence and soon to the U.S. Army Cyber Command.

“Ask someone in Illinois where you go for such expertise and you’re probably not going to hear Georgia, even though we have over 115 cyber companies and Cyber Command,” Mantella said. “Atlanta and Augusta are going to be key areas.”

The National Technology Se­cur­ity Coalition has been incorporated as a 501(c)6, a type of nonprofit allowed to engage in lobbying and other forms of advocacy. Its bylaws require the headquarters to be in Atlanta, though its activities can occur anywhere.

Mantella said the trade group’s activities likely will include advancing policies and legislation that promote cybersecurity innovation and organizing national conferences and networking events that further the national dialogue on information security.

“Typically, the big conferences are in California,” Man­tella said. “We’ve been told if we had a conference in the Southeast, people might be more apt to come to our area.”

In addition to Mantella, organizers include Tim Cal­la­han, the senior vice president and global chief security officer for insurance company AFLAC; and Calvin Rhodes, the chief information officer for Georgia and the executive director of the Georgia Technology Authority.

The coalition expects to be fully organized and hold its first series of meeting by spring, with an executive director hired in 2017.

The association’s mission is to promote Georgia’s tech-based economy and move the state from No. 8 on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s list of top technology states to the top five.

Georgia already is considered a top-five information technology state for the financial services, health care and security industries, and it is making major gains in the entertainment, data center and digital-media marketing sectors, Mantella said.

©2016 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.