Colorado-based CSG International, which specializes in customer management software for a variety of companies, has established a new unit called CSG Invotas, which is rolling out a cybersecurity technology meant to help companies automate their real-time responses to threats.

As part of the expansion, Invotas has opened an office in Old Town Alexandria and is hiring, said Michael J. Henderson , the CSG executive tapped to run the new unit.

The company piloted its product with a federal agency to ensure there was a market for it, and is now rolling out the service more widely, he said. Invotas expects both commercial and federal agency users.

The local office is now home to about 15 people, but Henderson said the unit plans to expand to another Old Town office in May, and hopes to double its head count within the next few months.

Silent Circle unveils ‘Blackphone’

Silent Circle, the National Harbor-based company founded by a former Navy SEAL and the inventor of a widely used e-mail encryption program known as Pretty Good Privacy, last week rolled out a smartphone focused on privacy.

Blackphone, as it’s known, is the product of a partnership between Silent Circle and manufacturer Geeksphone, based in Madrid.

Though Silent Circle has made its name as a start-up that encrypts phone calls and texts, company executives said hardware was a natural next step.

The Blackphone will feel like a regular Android phone, said Mike Janke , Silent Circle’s chief executive, but won’t have the default settings that give pre-loaded applications access to personal information.

Instead, the device will be powered by PrivatOS, an operating system that works with privacy-enabled applications.

Test versions of the phone will go out in April, and the Blackphone is slated to be available in June.

GAO rejects VariQ protest

The Government Accountability Office has denied a protest filed by Rockville-based VariQ Corp. against a Defense Logistics Agency order for desktop managed services support for the Defense Contract Audit Agency awarded to Alexandria-based Business Information Technology Solutions.

VariQ contested a range of issues, including the way the agency evaluated BITS’s staffing levels and transition plan. BITS had proposed a price of $6.7 million to VariQ’s $11.6 million.

The GAO backed the agency, writing that “[c]ontrary to the protester’s assertion, the record here shows a reasonable, adequately-documented source selection that is consistent with the terms of the [request for quotations].”

GAO denies CACI protest

The GAO has also rejected Chantilly-based CACI Technologies’s protest of an Army contract for services to support the Navy’s Norfolk Ship Support Activity to Herndon-based DRS Technical Services.

The Army’s evaluation found that CACI’s proposal was likely to cost $49.7 million, while DRS’s was estimated at $43.5 million.

The agency opted to give the order to the lowest bidder, but CACI protested the cost realism analysis. The GAO said it found “nothing unreasonable about this selection decision.”