Silver Spring CEO Named to Industry Tech Council

Says small, medium businesses need more help dealing with cyber threats

Montgomery County Maryland Community News — Gazette.Net.
by Kevin James Shay, Staff writer

As Internet security threats become common for many large companies, Ola Sage is looking more at small- and medium-sized businesses.

Smaller companies need more help warding off cyber threats than large businesses that have focused in-house teams, said Sage, CEO of Silver Spring-based information technology and cybersecurity business e-Management.

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“To a small business, it’s a matter of staying in business,” she said. “The cost of a security breach can be well over $100,000. That is significant for small businesses.”

Sage recently was elected to the executive committee of the Information Technology Sector Coordinating Council, an independent group of private industry representatives who work with government officials and others on improving infrastructure, cyber threats and other matters.

The council, which meets in the Washington, D.C., area, is heavy with reps from large companies, such as Microsoft and Intel.

“I really want to be a voice for small- and mid-sized businesses,” she said.

It can be confusing for small business owners to figure out what network security software will work best with all of the products on the market, Sage said.

“You have to figure out what your needs really are,” she said.

Doing that may take testing some products, but it’s best to get as much information as possible to make informed decisions, Sage said. It’s important to conduct vulnerability assessments, penetration tests and security assessments of management, operational and technical controls to better determine the level of protection needed, she said.

Her company works in areas that include infrastructure engineering and planning, along with cybersecurity.

It has developed a risk management product, CyberRx, specifically for small- and mid-sized employers. The initial launch will focus on the health care, technology, finance and energy industries.

e-Management works with a wide range of federal agencies, such as the Department of Energy and NASA, as well as private companies, including Bethesda defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.

Sage, who founded the business in 1999, has kept it in Silver Spring since 2001, seeing it grow to 55 employees. About one-third work in the headquarters on Wayne Avenue in the downtown area. Most of the rest are scattered at clients’ offices.

“We hire all the time,” she said.

Like many businesses that contract with the federal government, e-Management was affected last year during the shutdown and budget impasse. Sage has noticed a more stable climate among agencies this year.

“I’m grateful to have come out of that in relatively good shape,” she said.

Montgomery County is working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the state of Maryland on a plan to renovate the Rockville-based William Hanna Center for Innovation at Shady Grove as the home of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.

That could help make the county a national focal point for cybersecurity, Sage said. “You have to set up the investment to create a forum where businesses and government can come together to grow the industry,” she said.

It might be tempting to move to the Rockville-Gaithersburg area to be closer to that center, Sage said, but Silver Spring is a great location, close to her companies’ clients, though it may not have many businesses that do cybersecurity work.

“We’re close to Washington, D.C., and right by the Metro station, so it’s easy for us to meet with our customers,” she noted. “There is a lot of revitalization going on in downtown Silver Spring that makes this a vibrant area.”

Full article at Montgomery County Maryland Community News — Gazette.Net.

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