Maryland small businesses are incentivized to be cyber secure

By: Julie Miller, Open Maryland

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and a great time for businesses of all sizes to evaluate and improve their approach to cybersecurity. 

While massive corporate data breaches usually make the headlines, no business – regardless of size – is safe from a cyber attack. According to the Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, 43 percent of cyber attacks target small businesses. Often times, small companies don’t think about cybersecurity until they are a victim of a cyberattack, or they are required to meet certain security requirements for a government contract, says Timothy Schilbach, owner of cybersecurity firm Penacity

A Maryland program that launched in 2018 is making it easier for small businesses to protect themselves. The Buy Maryland Cybersecurity Tax Credit encourages small businesses to purchase cybersecurity technologies and services from qualified Maryland companies. The program offers a tax credit for 50 percent of the purchase price of cybersecurity technologies and services bought from a qualified seller. 

More than 20 companies, including Penacity, are qualified Maryland cybersecurity sellers. Being a qualified seller has been a great marketing tool for Penancity, with the cost savings catching the eye of local businesses. Since becoming qualified, Penancity has also reduced its sales cycle, Schilbach said.  

“I’m able to close deals two to three times faster because buyers see the program as not only a cost-saving to them, but they identify the company as a trusted provider,” Schilbach said. 

So far this year, 20 Penacity customers have utilized the tax credit, and “customers that use the tax credit, love it,” Schilbach said. 

Cybersecurity companies interested in becoming a qualified seller, or companies looking to take advantage of the tax credit, can learn more here.


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