IT and Cybersecurity
Tech company of the week: Contrast Security
By Emily Witty /
April 11, 2018

Last May, Governor Hogan announced the Excel Maryland Initiative at the inaugural Maryland Business Summit in front of more than 700 business, education, and community leaders in the state. The initiative's goal is lofty – to launch a comprehensive, statewide economic development strategy focused on developing new collaborative techniques to accelerate growth in the life sciences and cybersecurity industries.

With more than 35 incubators and research parks and a number one ranking in STEM job concentration, Maryland is fertile ground for entrepreneurs in life sciences and cybersecurity, industries where Maryland already leads. Excel Maryland, the latest tool in the state's toolbox, is designed to propel these industries to even greater heights.

MDBizNews sat down with a few local businesses that are thriving in the state's cybersecurity sector and giving the Commerce team plenty to brag about at the upcoming RSA Conference.

Contrast Security, based in Baltimore City's Canton neighborhood, provides software protection for businesses by making their existing programs "self-protecting," so they can defend themselves against vulnerabilities and attacks. Founders Arshan Dabirsiaghi and Jeff Williams launched the company as a spin-off of Williams' successful consulting firm in Columbia, knowing that they wanted to stay in Maryland for this new venture.

"From a business side, Silicon Valley is where a technology company is 'supposed' to be," said Dabirsiaghi. "Culture is so important for a company and we have a very balanced technology culture here in Baltimore."

Contrast Security's technology is different from the traditional software protection products on the market because it is tailor-made for every customer's program. Dabirsiaghi compared it to getting an MRI instead of having a doctor simply ask questions. One allows you to get an inside view of what's really going on, while the other makes educated guesses from an external perspective.

"In the same way, our agent technology analyzes and protects from within our customers' software, rather than just scanning its code," said Dabirsiaghi.

For Contrast Security, pioneering the field of software protection is the end goal. With high-profile hacks like Equifax, the company feels they are in a position to vastly improve how businesses maintain security for their customers.

"The sky is the limit. We're hiring all the time, so tell your friends," said Dabirsiaghi. "Companies continue to invest more and more into software. We hope to fundamentally change the way software is built, and secure the next generation of technology."

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