Strong cybersecurity presence vital for business growth
ROME/UTICA — Despite all the numbers, programs and coding that drive the world of cybersecurity, the industry ultimately comes down to people — both those committing cyber attacks and those who defend against them, according to Michael Polce, owner and CEO of M.A. Polce Consulting in Rome.
One also has to worry about the people who might fall victim to such attacks.
“Awareness training is key because the end users are the human firewall,” Polce described. “They’re the ones who have to make that decision to click on things or not click on it, to fall for things.”
M.A. Polce Consulting provides outsourced IT services to companies that can’t necessarily afford their own in-house IT departments, as well as various cybersecurity protections. They offer safety monitoring, alert systems, server patches, infrastructure maintenance, risk and compliance services, and more. They also store servers on-site.
The company has just under 50 employees serving about 125 to 150 clients, including the City of Rome and the Rome City School District. Polce also serves clients in the Syracuse and Binghamton areas. Polce said his company focuses on providing top-tier service to small and mid-sized companies, which he said deserve the same level of cybersecurity as larger corporations.
The company started in Rome in 1998 and is currently based in an office on the Griffiss Business and Technology Park, which they moved to in 2003. They more than tripled the size of the building with an expansion at the end of 2020.
“I think Rome has always been good for business. We have a great thing going on here with the Business and Technology Park,” Polce said.
“We’ve got a lot of growth potential here. Rome is home. I believe in this community. I think we’re a great community. I think Rome is one of the best communities in the country to live in, to raise your family
and do business.”
Polce said their No. 1 service is managed risk and compliance.
“Managed is really more proactive. It’s taking a proactive approach to maintaining. Keeping systems up to date so they perform well, but because of the cybersecurity landscape, it’s more important now than ever to make sure that things are
maintained,” Polce stated.
“Some of the weaker, or low-hanging fruit, is patching a server or operating system. If you don’t maintain those patches, you could open yourself up for vulnerabilities.”
Polce added, “And the bad guys look for that. They look for people that aren’t proactive, that aren’t staying on top of that, so that they can exploit those security vulnerabilities.”
After weathering the COVID-19 pandemic as well as they could, Polce said 2022 was a “good year” for the company, even if not a banner year.
In 2023, Polce said his company is looking to expand more into the education, financial and municipality sectors, especially K-12 education and small town and village governments.
Cybersecurity in the Mohawk Valley
In addition to M.A. Polce Consulting, the Mohawk Valley is home to a number of other cybersecurity firms.
• Assured Information Security (AIS) was also started in Rome, where it has its headquarters. It has offices all over the country. AIS provides government and commercial customers with cybersecurity research services, including development, consulting, testing, forensics, remediation, and training. They are also located in the Griffiss Business and Technology Park.
“2022 was a year of exploring our organization’s capacity for change,” said Charles Green, CEO of AIS.
“During this time of economic, technological, health and political transformation, we’ve embraced new ways of adapting to support our customers and each other. Over the past year, we have revamped our compensation model and improved our recognition program. We continue to embrace remote work and have added new benefits for our employees, including a sabbatical leave. We’ve prioritized new opportunities in business development and commercial sales, added key new hires to our staff, and created a Chief Engineering Team to lead research and help drive innovation at AIS.”
Among recent highlights for AIS, they signed a $950 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quality contract called Agile Cyber Technology 3, for technical documentation, technical reports, software and hardware. AIS was one of five companies to receive this award from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome.
• Quanterion Solutions Incorporated is a technical solutions provider founded by former Air Force Research Lab engineers and headquartered at 266 Genesee St. in Utica. The company specializes in providing cutting-edge analytical services, produces and training across many IT disciplines, including cybersecurity and managed cloud services.
In September, Quanterion was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research effort to explore use of IoT devices and how the data they produce can improve decision-making. They received a second such award in December to validate IoT solutions’ functionality and security prior to implementation.
“The proliferation of IoT devices offers a wealth of new capabilities to the warfighter,” said Alex MacDiarmid, director of Advanced Programs at Quanterion. “At the same time, it is absolutely critical that we properly secure these technologies so as not to introduce new attack vectors.”
Quanterion said they are finding more success with their Converge app, which streamlines the check-in and check-out processes at military bases. And they have also developed a new app to help guide students going away to college.
New in 2023, Quanterion will be releasing a new edition of its most popular product: the Nonelectronic Parts Reliability Data Series. This is a collection of failure rate data for nonelectronic parts, which engineers use to calculate reliability for products and build reliability into new designs. This will launch in April.
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