The rapid pace of our daily lives requires us to have convenient technology at our fingertips so we may make quick daily decisions and business transactions. The pervasive nature of technology in our world today leaves us with this fact: The more we depend on technology, the more vulnerable our society will be to cybercrime.
DHS plays a key role in securing the federal government's civilian cyber networks and helping to secure the broader cyber ecosystem through government-industry partnerships with those in the private sector that own and operate much of our nation’s critical cyber infrastructure systems. S&T’s main support is to research, develop and transition into use new innovative solutions to complex cybersecurity problems and cyberattacks.
One way S&T is combating cyberattacks is by engaging the small business cybersecurity community to develop innovative solutions. S&T’s Cyber Security Division co-sponsored the Government Cyber Security Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Workshop with the Department of Defense (DoD) and National Science Foundation (NSF) in January to showcase government-funded small business cybersecurity research and technology to government and private sector stakeholders with a goal of transitioning technology into the marketplace. The workshop also provided small businesses the opportunity to cultivate new business skills to grow in today’s economy.
Being innovative and seeing growth opportunities are other indicators of success. During the workshop’s small business success panel discussion, former S&T and DoD-funded small businesses reiterated the importance of taking a 75 percent completed idea, seeing a customer need, and being willing to pivot or move in a different direction to finalize the product.
Successful small businesses face many challenges; however S&T is working to provide a variety of new acquisition tools that allow the government to work with businesses of all sizes at the pace of today’s innovation. For example, S&T’s SBIR program can help provide funding to those with innovative homeland security solutions. One of our recent small business successes is NowSecure, formerly viaForensics – a small mobile forensics business that just completed $12.5 million in Series A funding in December 2014 to allow the company to expand into the security market. NowSecure co-founder and owner Andrew Hoog attributes S&T’s early funding and support as the building blocks of their mobile security products and calls S&T his first investor.
For small businesses that are striving to grow, I want to leave you with this thought. The government no longer leads innovation – you do. So join the mission and join the conversation. We look forward to partnering with you to keep our nation safe. Be innovative, but listen to the market. And if you want to take your technology to the next level, be flexible and prepare to pivot.
Dr. Reginald Brothers
Under Secretary for Science and Technology