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Cyber Fears Hurt U.S. Businesses Overseas

June 24, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Some foreign companies are reluctant to do business with U.S. firms.

Many U.S. companies are losing business because of cyber issues expressed by foreign firms. These concerns can range from fears of U.S. vulnerabilities to worries that intelligence agencies will have access to information held by U.S. contractors.

That issue arose in both a panel discussion and an address on the first day of the AFCEA International Cyber Symposium, being held June 24-25 in Baltimore. Panelists were discussing how companies need to realize that cybersecurity is in their best interest when the issue of foreign rejection arose.

“U.S. companies are hurting overseas because of damage done,” said Cheri F. McGuire, vice president, global government affairs and cybersecurity policy, Symantec. “Companies can point to losses because of contracts they are not winning.”

Panel moderator Al Berkeley, chairman, Princeton Capital Management and former vice chairman at NASDAQ, noted that some foreign companies are reluctant to do business with U.S. firms because some have been hurt. However, he offered “It’s a little disingenuous of European firms to go silent.”

McGuire noted one concern is that a foreign intelligence agency will be able to access a company’s systems. She also warned against U.S. firms allowing the overseas market to slip away because of lax cybersecurity. More than 50 percent of the annual revenue of U.S. firms comes from overseas, she noted.

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