Capital Buzz: Battelle working on new ways to keep data safe

October 27, 2013

Battelle Memorial Institute, the giant nonprofit technology and science firm that employs 700 in the Washington region, is hard at work on a next-generation encryption service to protect people, businesses and institutions from online eavesdroppers.

Battelle, founded in 1929, has partnered with a Swiss firm to build software to protect data from being tapped in the future, when current encryption technologies are no longer viable.

Battelle is pursuing the program, called QKD, with its own investment money. The company wants to work fast. Battelle believes current secrets could be deciphered within five years. It wants to have the new generation of encryption ready by then.

Much of this kind of research is done in cyber labs (called “cyber cells”) — one is in Arlington and one is near Fort Meade.

Battelle takes on a variety of cyber challenges, whether it is trying to predict attacks on government servers, or finding ways to detect and identify malicious insiders within a global financial institution.

“Current technologies have limitations that are becoming well known,” said Tim Sample, Battelle’s vice president for special programs and an editor of a company book on cyber doctrine called “CyberDoc: No Borders — No Boundaries.” “What we are working on is the next generation of technologies that will provide the type of security that will be demanded worldwide.”

Battelle has offices in Northern Virginia, the District and Maryland.

Factoid of the Week

$25MThat’s the amount that Feld Entertainment, owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, wants from animal rights groups that unsuccessfully sued the circus over the course of 13 years. Tysons Corner-based Feld was accused of abusing its Asian elephants. A federal judge dismissed the suit. Last March, the judge granted Feld’s request to recoup its legal fees, which include almost 50,000 hours of billings.

Hitting the right note

The Buzz took in some classical music last week when Elizabeth and Jan Lodal and Glenmede, an independent investment and wealth management firm founded by the Pew family, hosted a reception for “From the Top,” a Boston-based nonprofit that promotes musical talent in gifted young people. “From the Top” is broadcast on Classical WETA 90.0 FM, Sundays at 6 p.m. (Disclosure: The Buzz’s wife works at WETA.)

The reception at the Lodal’s Northern Virginia home included performances by three young musicians who are members of “From the Top.” Each is also a recipient of a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artists Award, named for the late billionaire and owner of the Washington Redskins. Christopher O’Riley was the host and played the piano.

Jan Lodal was founder and chairman of Intelus and co-founded American Management Systems. He is past president of the Atlantic Council of the United States and sits on its board of directors. He was a senior official in the Defense Department and White House under Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton. Elizabeth Lodal is the former principal of Fairfax County’s elite Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

Attendees from the business community included John T. Schwieters, a senior executive at Perseus and managing partner at Arthur Andersen in the Mid-Atlantic region from 1989 to 1999; John B. Goodman, chief operating officer of Accenture Federal Services; and Stuart A. Haney, a member of the board of directors of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

The Buzz Hears:

Bisnow’s “30 Under 40” included some hot young entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The event was held on the 30th floor of 1000 Wilson Blvd., which is the home of Politico/WJLA. It has a killer view of the city, even if the space is not yet finished. The Buzz chatted with John Backus and Thanasis Delistathis of New Atlantic Ventures, and Margot Machol, wife of Bisnow founder Mark Bisnow. Also attending were David Adelman of ReelGenie, Justin Langseth of Zoomdata, Neil Kataria of Blue Tiger Labs and Kam Desai of NewBrand­Analytics. Doug Anderson of Bisnow hosted.

“The only thing that people talk about at tech events is their own company,” Adelman said. “The topic most talked about was how hard it is to hire good people. My son better become an engineer or developer, because he will have more job offers than he knows what to do with.”

District-based Metalogix, the business-to-business software vendor, acquired the SharePoint business from Idera, which is owned by Austin Ventures, a Texas-based private equity firm.

Metalogix has more than 250 employees.

Three former Clarabridge executives — Tony Lopresti, William Welch and Gene Sohn — are launching the Intellinote app on Oct. 29. The Reston-based software start-up helps individuals and teams organize their digital work lives.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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