Cybersecurity: A Key Piece of Loudoun’s Past, Present and Future

Dennis Brouwer
Business Development Manager, Cybersecurity

 

Here’s a brain-teaser: what’s the common thread between the War of 1812, the apps on your smartphone and the future of cybersecurity?

Tough to answer? Here’s another clue: it’s not a thing, it’s a place.

Consider these three points:

1. During the War of 1812, as the British threatened to invade and burn Washington, D.C., key founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, were moved to a safe place.

The documents were so utterly irreplaceable that their physical security needed to be guaranteed. It’s a good thing that someone planned ahead, because the British stormed D.C. in 1814, burning the White House and invading the halls of Congress.

The documents were safely stashed in the brick-lined cellar of Rokeby, an elegant home about 50 miles west of the capital, near the seat of Loudoun County, Virginia.

2. When you tap an icon on your phone, odds are that the process that’s used to retrieve the data runs to or through Ashburn, Virginia.

We tend to think of the Internet as something ethereal that’s out there somewhere in the cloud. But at a certain point, it becomes relentlessly physical, a collection of optical fiber, exotic networking equipment, and acres of state-of-the-art computer servers.

A huge amount of that infrastructure is located in what’s known as Data Center Alley, nestled in eastern Loudoun County. Ashburn not only has one of the busiest exchange points on the global Internet, it also holds what is arguably the greatest concentration of data the world has ever known. Incredibly, the rate of growth in that volume of data is expected to accelerate as the Internet of Things, 5G technology, and real-time apps like autonomous cars drive demand for high-quality, low-latency data.

How much data is stored in and around Ashburn? It’s tough to say, but here’s a useful comparison. Your laptop stores roughly 1 terabyte of data, enough to hold the print collections of the Library of Congress, in a few square inches of hard-drive. Loudoun County’s data centers currently include more than 13.5 million square feet of space, with 4.5 million more on the way. That’s big data.

3. All of that data is becoming increasingly important. Government and industry realize that the ability to search, categorize and combine mountains of data represents an opportunity that’s unique in human history.

Massive collections of data, ranging from the human genome to economic, agricultural and census information is a potential treasure trove of information. Like every treasure, it needs to be safeguarded and Loudoun County is perfectly positioned to lead the charge on cybersecurity.

Loudoun is home to leading cyber companies including Raytheon, Telos and Cofense. It’s next door to the U.S. Federal Government, the biggest security services customer in the world. It boasts an ecosystem of top-notch educational institutions, one of the healthiest, happiest and best-educated workforces in the nation, and access to the world’s largest collection of cyber-focused professionals.

Loudoun County is the thread that ties the three data points together. Two hundred years ago, it was seen as a safe place to store the nation’s physical treasures. Today, it’s the center of the internet, with state-of-the-art, secure facilities housing data from more than 3,400 companies. It’s where innovation, growth, and policy-making are redefining cybersecurity in a hyper-connected world.

Loudoun County. It’s where the data is. It’s where the rules are made. It’s where every cyber company needs to be. To learn more about the #LoudounPossible opportunities in cyber, email Dennis Brouwer or call 1-800-LOUDOUN.

 

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