The Times
  • Mohawk Valley to be key player in 'Cyber Valley'

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  • Central New York could one day be known as “Cyber Valley.”
    And many of the key players already are in the Mohawk Valley.
    While recent announcements about the area’s role in the nanotechnology industry are in the forefront of many minds, cyber experts say cybertechnology already is here and growing.
    “There’s probably a lot more going on in this region than a lot more people are aware of,” said Mary Carol Chruscicki, executive director of the CYBER New York Alliance. “We’re at the forefront of cyber. Central New York is going to be the center of Cyber Valley.”
    And the combination of the nano- and cybertechnology industries will mean more jobs and more money coming into the area.
    “It’ll generate a lot of business and with universities producing skilled workers it’ll start a ripple effect and help supporting businesses,” Chruscicki said.
    The Mohawk Valley was an original player in the area of cybersecurity, its anchor at the Air Force Research Lab in Rome, said Joe Giordano, Utica College cybersecurity professor of practice and chair of undergraduate and graduate cybersecurity programs.
    Area academic institutions and surrounding businesses now are working with Rome lab and through the New York State Cyber Research Institute, a subsidiary of the Griffiss Institute, to bring that research into other sectors such as finance, healthcare and infrastructure.
    Growing cyber
    Cyber is bigger than security, Chruscicki said. “It’s anything that has to do with ones and zeros. Cyber is just surrounding us. It’s just the high technology we’re living with today.”
    Because Cyberspace is a global interconnected network of computers, databases and information systems, it’s becoming more and more important to not only be able to secure information and networks, but also be able to easily search them, Giordano said.
    This is where business opportunities arise.
    The alliance and institute are working to help corporations make connections to startup in the area, Chruscicki said.
    A new Cyber Meets Nano initiative will focus on finding opportunities combining the two technologies, she said.
    More growth is in the future, said Director of the Griffiss Institute Bill Wolf.
    “I see this expanding beyond research strictly for the Air Force and certainly hope that the thrust transfers this technology to the banking industry, finance industry, insurance, automotive, power grids all the other aspects of the cyberproblem,” he said.
    Assured Information Security, headquartered in the Griffiss Business and Technology Park, began in 2001and has since grown to become a major player in cybersecurity doing research and development for the military.
    Page 2 of 2 - Now its expanding into the commercial sector, said Operations Manager Dan Kalil. “We are working closely with various organizations such as the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce, to further expand related opportunities and more broadly promote our region’s cybersecurity expertise and contributions.”
    What’s next?
    Area colleges are working to align their education programs with the current and future needs of employers.
    “The goal is always to try to create jobs, to try to grow this area to try to provide young people with a place to stay once they graduate,” Giordano said. “We want to grow jobs here entrepreneurs and creative people.”
    Sean LaPlante, 22, of Albany, heard about AIS while studying at SUNYIT and works as a software engineer for the company and lives in Oriskany.
    “I heard about (the job) from friends and it was right in what I wanted to do,” he said.
    Because the area has much to offer in terms of pre-existing research, skilled workers and space for growth, more companies already are looking to establish themselves here, Chruscicki said.
    The Bank of New York Mellon Corp. has about 1,670 employees in Central New York, which includes its Syracuse, Utica and Oriskany locations—and more are expected to be hired, said company spokesman Ron Gruendl.
    Much of the work is done in the area of cybersecurity working with the Rome research lab.
    “That area is being known as a budding industry for that,” Gruendl said. “We put people were the talent is. We have centers all over the world. If the right people are in Central New York, we’re going to hire them.”
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