Keeping track of all the latest cyberattacks and who was behind them is hard for the average person, but it can be tough for those whose full-time job involves security, too.
That’s where one Virginia start-up sees a business opportunity — managing the vast troves of data on threat intelligence when security experts need it the most.
ThreatQuotient, which operates out of AOL’s Fishbowl Labs incubator in Dulles, is the brainchild of Wayne Chiang and Ryan Trost, both former employees of defense contractor General Dynamics.
The company’s signature product is designed to cut the time it takes to identify and mitigate a threat by essentially acting as a central repository for all threat intelligence, Trost said. Security teams can search through an optimized database of known threats and pull up the information they need to make quick decisions.
ThreatQuotient recently picked up a $1.5 million investment from Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology and venture-capital firm BluVentures. It plans to use the money to expand its sales and marketing team and hire more engineering talent.
When a threat is detected, the time it takes for a security analyst to identify it from a large database of sources, check whether the system has encountered it before and then use that knowledge to determine a course of action can be agonizingly long, Chiang said. Depending on the company’s size and resources, the process could take anywhere from hours to days, he said.
To make the process more efficient, ThreatQuotient’s software suggests which sources of data are most relevant to a business. For example, a retail company would want more insight on the kinds of attacks that retailers — as opposed to financial institutions — face, Chiang said.
ThreatQuotient is the latest in a new crop of cybersecurity companies that has flourished in the Washington region as government agencies and the private sector step up efforts to protect themselves from hackers.
From longtime defense contractors looking for new business opportunities to small companies with niche skills, companies of all sizes are targeting the growing cybersecurity market.
Raytheon recently acquired Websense, a Texas-based cybersecurity company, for $1.57 billion to form a unit focused purely on commercial cyberthreats. The company also acquired Herndon-based Blackbird Technologies for $420 million last year.
Lockheed Martin became a strategic investor in Israeli firm Cybereason this year. The company said it would include Cybereason’s detection platform in its own cybersecurity services. Executives at Lockheed and Northrop Grumman have talked aboutgrowing sales in cybersecurity at home and abroad.
On the other end of the spectrum, former contractors and government employees are using their experience to start companies that tackle specific problems. Many are based in Northern Virginia, where the talent pool for cybersecurity is rich, Chiang said.
ThreatQuotient’s competitors include Arlington-based ThreatConnect, led by a former engineer at Mitre, a McLean-based organization that runs federally funded research centers.
ThreatQuotient’s focus is on the private sector, but it plans to shift to government clients, Trost said.
The start-up declined to provide specific numbers, but Chiang said sales had crossed $1 million in 2014. The company expects sales to triple by the end of the year.