Defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the federal government’s biggest IT provider, did something unusual this week. For the first time ever, it purchased an outside cybersecurity firm rather than developing cyber skills internally. The name of the privately-held company is Industrial Defender, and it specializes in protecting the automated control systems that run electric grids, oil pipelines and chemical plants from cyber attack. That is a rapidly growing business area now that regulators are focusing on threats to “critical infrastructure,” but it’s a good deal different from dot.mil and dot.gov domains in which Lockheed’s Information Systems & Global Solutions business usually plays. So it has elected to acquire a company with 130 employees that Frost & Sullivan says makes “must-have” solutions for securing industrial grids and networks. This week’s move underscores how broadly the Bethesda-based contractor is investing in commercial ventures from deep-sea mining to renewable energy to pilot training, and also how determined it is to offer a full spectrum of cybersecurity solutions to public and private-sector customers. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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