A hard-hitting trio stopped in Ashburn this morning to celebrate the unveiling of Visa’s new Cyber Fusion Center.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), Attorney General and Loudoun-native Mark Herring (D) and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) congratulated and repeatedly thanked the company for choosing the commonwealth to launch its new, high-tech center.
“We beat out Colorado and Texas to get them here,” McAuliffe said.
The secure facility will serve as the company’s hub for rapid cyber threat detection.
Visa executive Bill Sheedy told the elected officials and press gathered in the new space that, from where they were standing, some of the top cybersecurity “warriors” were identifying and responding to emerging fraud trends.
“We’re invested in ensuring consumers and merchants in Virginia and in the United States and around the world are empowered and safe and secure when they use their Visa card,” said Sheedy, the company’s global executive of Corporate Strategy, M&A and Government Relations. “Obviously, putting our capital behind it with buildings and facilities like this are incredibly important in the manifestation of that commitment.”
McAuliffe called the commonwealth a world leader in the cybersecurity industry, thanks to partnerships with companies like Visa and the dozens of other tech enterprises that have planted roots in Northern Virginia. Loudoun County boasts the highest concentration of data centers in the world, and about half of all Internet traffic travels through those centers.
Plus, McAuliffe noted, Virginia was the first state to use credit cards with computer chip technology. “We’re leading by example,” he said. “We’ve been working really hard to put Virginia in the forefront of this industry.”
Warner listed some daunting statistics to illustrate the dire need for facilities like Visa’s Cyber Fusion Center. He said the U.S. Department of Defense receives more than one million cyber attacks each day. “And on the criminal side, cyber attacks have had a $120-billion-a-year hit just to the American economy,” he added.
The investment in that industry is not only a need, but it also presents an opportunity for Virginia to diversify its economy, especially as the federal government considers cutting back on contract work, the senator said. “This is a great opportunity to build one of the pillars of the 21st century economy.”
During his comments, Herring agreed that the threat is very real and can be intimidating—since he was sworn in as attorney general two years ago, his office has received 621 data breach notifications. But he said the commonwealth has all the right ingredients to draw high-tech companies to respond to that threat.
“Our outstanding public schools, highly skilled work force, reliable and reasonably priced energy make Virginia a great state for companies like Visa to locate in and Loudoun County in particular,” he said.