Accenture opened its newest Cyber Fusion Center near Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, building on the company’s promise to provide clients with the best minds and most advanced technology to defend against data breaches and cyberattacks.
The new office in Arlington, Va. merges market research, threat operatives that test clients' defenses called FusionX cyberattack simulation services; threat intelligence known as iDefense, which seeks out emerging security risks; as well as security consultants, in one location.
“We put them all on a couple floors in D.C. and what I want them to do is be creative and collaborate across all those groups so that we can improve security, while we research the security conditions in the marketplace,” Kelly Bissell, managing director of global security for Accenture, told CRN. “We chose Washington, D.C. for a couple of reasons. It has the highest concentration of heavy cyber talent in the U.S. It also has some key universities we want to team with around innovation and R&D, so those two things, and a couple others made it the ideal place.”
Accenture said the new office will be linked with the company’s other cyber fusion centers in Bangalore, India; Prague; and Tel Aviv, Israel.
“We have people all around the world,” Bissell said. “As soon as a person in one country finds a cyber threat, there is a network effect where we’re able to learn and leverage that information across the globe.”
Bissell said Accenture’s security business – which has grown to 5,800 employees – is expected to add another 1,000 in D.C. alone. In the fusion centers, Accenture works with clients to help them predict cyberattacks and test cyber defenses with a sparring-partner approach that replicates real-world cyberattacks.
When Accenture launched its fusion center in Israel in June 2016, Omar Abbosh, Accenture's chief strategy officer, told CRN that his company’s security “brand” is falling short of expectations. Bissell said that is no longer the case.
“Our brand today is light years ahead of what it was just two years ago,” he said.
Bissell said what makes the fusion center’s unique is its ability to “find a needle in a stack of needles” and determine which of them is a threat.
“It's not only finding the next malware,” he said. “It's determining, what is its target? What damage could they do and how can the client put up controls to be safe around that?” Bissell said. “So where many companies find the next malware and give the IT answer, we’re giving them the business risk answer … I think clients are very happy, elated, even that we’re doing this.”