When you think of the State of Virginia, you probably think of the saying “Virginia is for Lovers.” There is that; between oysters, craft brew beers, and wineries for sure. Also, nearby in Washington, DC is the NFL team, the Washington Redskins. But they are actually a huge part of Virginia as well, as their headquarters and training camp; and probably their future stadium home too are all located in Virginia.
However, there are two really deep elements going on as well, that may or may not come to mind.
The first is Internet Traffic and and the second is Cyber Security. Loudon County, VA is home to approximately 70% of the *Global* Internet traffic. This has led to the formation of major data center clusters, with literally acres and acres of windowless, low lying buildings housing nothing but thousands and thousands of servers to fuel the constant growth of data and Internet traffic.
The cyber security situation in Virginia is huge, with over 600 cyber security companies located in the State. This is in no small part due to the proximity to the nations capitol with all the various military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies scattered around the area.
The Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is a huge proponent of supporting the cyber security companies in the State. Additionally, there are a number of incubators and accelerators in the State for Cyber Security companies to connect with.
I was fortunate to be a guest at the Redskins training camp in Richmond, VA in August of 2016. Aside from the sheer thrill of being so close to so many talented NFL players and those trying out for the team, there was also something amazing happening, something the other NFL teams should be replicating.
The training camp is the only one of a kind held in an inner city, and open to the public. No other NFL team does this.
The Redskins have set an incredible example for inclusion, and for erasing racial and financial barriers that would normally keep fans who can’t afford tickets to the games, by allowing such access.
The State of Virginia is setting an example for supporting the Internet and cyber security companies in a way that most States could also learn from. I came away extremely impressed with both the Internet and cyber security situation as well as what the Redskins do for their community.
Virginia may be for Lovers, but it is most definitely for the 21st century and well placed to succeed in future years. The support for cyber security companies by the Governor combined with the inclusion being shown by the Redskins is a model for all.