Boosting Cyber-Security

Jun 15, 2015

With potentially millions of Virginians victimized by the recent cyber-attack against federal employees, state lawmakers want to expedite the formation of public-private collaborations that would stimulate research and development in cybers-ecurity. 

Now a Joint Commission on Technology and Science panel agrees—and wants to help bring the best minds in the field together.  Both higher education institutions and companies are willing and eager to make that happen.

Some lawmakers want to make facilitating academic and business partnerships a priority, creating a Virginia “Cyberalley” that’s much like Silicon Valley. Delegate Tom Rust says all must be proactive in light of constant data breaches.

“This, ultimately, would help to provide some programs and computer systems that could stop that type of thing.  But it goes on every day, and the bad guys seem to be one step ahead of us all the time.”

Rust adds that many would benefit.

“Not just research for research’s sake—but something that the business community in collaboration with the research community could make it a commercially viable product, and then, of course, create jobs and economic benefit to the Commonwealth.”

University and business officials say they may not know what the others are working on.  They say a portal to find out where and what research is being conducted and the names of experts would help them to form partnerships. And while state funding exists for some start-ups, older or larger companies are not eligible. One idea is to add funding to the state budget that’s targeted for these collaborations.

Under the plan, businesses would provide matching funds.  The proposal is still under discussion. 

(L-r) JCOTS panel members Sen. Jennifer Wexton, Del. Tom Rust, and Del. Glenn Davis