Nearly a decade after exiting the commercial market, Fairfax-based ManTech International is seeking to reenter it, particularly targeting cybersecurity services at financial institutions.
The move reflects the leading role government contractors have played in the burgeoning cybersecurity market. Buoyed by experience with secretive government agencies on the front lines of the cyber wars, contractors are finding they can adapt their technology and services to help banking institutions and utilities companies, among others.
Before going public in 2002, ManTech disposed of several commercially focused businesses. But George J. Pedersen, ManTech’s chairman and chief executive, said the company sees a potential market not just in assisting the financial industry but in helping critical infrastructure firms, such as those in the oil and gas industries, as well.
In doing so, ManTech has become one of the latest contractors to look for new markets as defense spending slows. At McLean-based Science Applications International Corp., the company’s CloudShield subsidiary, a cyber-focused business, has long been able to take technology developed for the government and offer it to commercial customers like telecommunications companies.
Companies are “willing to buy a product that solves a need today,” said Peder Jungck, CloudShield’s acting president. The government, on the other hand, is “willing to fund solving the problems that haven’t been solved before.”
For example, when domain name server security became a problem for commercial companies, some came to CloudShield for a fix. Spurred by the government to come up with a comprehensive solution, the company had produced a product it called DNS Defender, which it was then able to sell to commercial firms.
McLean-based Booz Allen Hamilton too is providing cybersecurity services to both the government and commercial clients. In some cases, the contractor is working with an agency that has a commercial match; for instance, Booz Allen works with federal regulatory agencies, making banks an obvious fit, and with the Department of Health and Human Services, giving it a leg up working with health care firms, said William J. Wansley, a senior vice president at Booz Allen.
“Those alignments work pretty well for us,” said Wansley, who leads the company’s commercial efforts. Commercial firms “do value our government experience, and frankly they’re looking for some new ideas.”
Shawn P. McCarthy, research director at IDC Government Insights, said that is particularly true in the cybersecurity arena.
A “contractor that has [built] highly secure systems for the government is very much in a good position to work with [commercial] industries,” McCarthy said.