Augusta,GA is in a race which started several years ago to become the cyber security leader of the world. Although there are other cities and countries which are involved in this race, Augusta has five strong points in it’s corner that will help it become the leader in cyber security. While these points are not the only reasons Augusta will win, they are the primary reasons Augusta will win in the long run.
Let’s have a look at each point individually.
#1. U.S. Army Cyber Command
This is the 80,000 pound gorilla in the room and it is what sets Augusta,GA apart from the rest of the world.
The U.S. Army Cyber Command is located at Fort Gordon and a rocks throw from downtown Augusta. I can not over emphasize the importance of this geographical location. It will be very hard for Augusta to lose the cyber race with the U.S. Cyber Command in it’s corner.
Augusta has welcomed the U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) with open arms as the transition of moving the facility from Fort Meade, Maryland to Fort Gordon, Georgia has taken place over the last five years.
The U.S. Cyber Command is the #1 reason Augusta will lead the world in cyber security.
#2. Georgia’s Cyber Center
This $100,000,000 facility is set to be one of the premier cyber training and research facilities in the world.
The Georgia Cyber Center will house a state of the art cyber range as well as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s new cyber crime unit. The two main buildings have a total of 332,000 square feet and serve as a home for startup cyber security related companies.
This facility will serve as the anchor for downtown Augusta and falls under the control of The Georgia Technology Authority. The Georgia Cyber Center comes in at #2 on the list because Augusta could not be a world leader without also having a world class cyber research facility.
#3. Augusta’s Workforce
Like every city in the world, Augusta,GA was behind the eight ball in the very beginning with regards to cyber workforce training. Augusta, as a whole, has done an outstanding job at tackling this training issue. Augusta’s cyber workforce is estimated to be 12,716 according to the Augusta University Workforce Study.
This workforce is going to jump drastically over the next 24 – 48 months and is great incentive for companies looking to move to Augusta. Augusta has an abundance of cyber workers coming out of Fort Gordon. However this talent does not come cheap. The days of ridiculously low cost labor are a thing of the past in Augusta, although the labor is still cheaper than the Washington D.C., Atlanta, and Palo Alto markets.
Need elite military talent with hacking skills? Look no further than Augusta. The amount of talent (Ex-NSA workers) available in the Augusta market is tremendous compared to other cities around the world. We are starting to see startup companies that are looking to fill gaps in the market with regards to products and services. This level of talent comes at a premium or a chunk of equity.
#4. The Investment Community
A few years back, there was little to no investment dollars in the Augusta market. However thanks to events like the Invest Augusta Conference and others, this pattern has been turned around in the Augusta business community.
I am not talking about investment in the real estate market. Augusta has had titans in real estate for decades. I am referring to investment in early stage and Series A companies.
Augusta needs to be known as the “go-to” location for smart investors who want to capitalize on investment opportunities in cyber security companies. I will repeat this because it is important. Augusta needs to continue to build the reputation of being the premier location in the world for smart investors to go to if and when they want to invest in cyber security related companies.
Because of #1 and #2 on this list, we will see this play out over time. While we may not there yet, it is simply a matter of time until it happens.
#5. Augusta’s Cyber Enthusiasm
For a city to be a world leader in anything, it has to want it badly. I have lived in Augusta for over 40 years and I can say with confidence that people of all walks of life are ecstatic about cyber taking over the city.
Augusta has an opportunity it has not seen before. If Augusta puts in the effort and plays it cards right, it will have a thriving private sector economy as a result of the cyber movement. The government spending money is what jump started all of this for Augusta. In the end however, it is the private sector which will lead the way into a prosperous and bright future!
Let’s recap the 5 reason Augusta will win the cyber race.
- U.S. Army Cyber Command
- Georgia’s Cyber Center
- Augusta’s Workforce
- The Investment Community
- Augusta’s Cyber Enthusiasm
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