The field of cybersecurity has developed progressively in the last decade. Innovators have started focusing on the field of cybersecurity due to the increasing need for cybersecurity solutions (Magableh & Al Sobeh, 2018). Companies need cybersecurity experts to provide solutions to data and network security. Protecting the assets of a company is one of the important aspects of ensuring the company remains competitive. In addition, due to the anticipated dangers from cybercriminals, new innovations in the field of cybersecurity emerge to help deal with the challenge posed by criminals. The recent attack on the colonial pipeline in the United States is an example of how a cybersecurity issue can cripple a sector of the economy. To understand the processes involved in assisting new technologies emerge from research and development environments, the technology development life cycle has to be analyzed. The paper will also discuss the technology transfer processes followed by the funding sources for technologies in the cybersecurity field.
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Technology Development Life Cycle
Organizations have introduced cybersecurity experts to help them combat the threat posed by cybercriminals. The cybersecurity industry has benefited as a result of the urgency in coming up with solutions. This has made the field one of the fastest growing in the IT industry. Technology can be defined as the practical use of knowledge so that one can accomplish something new or accomplish something in a different way (The European Space Agency, n.d.). New technologies often emerge from scientific research, which includes the discovery of new ideas from which technology can be derived (Markopoulou et al., 2019). Many firms engage in research and development activities to enable them to provide better services to their clients.
New technologies develop through a step-by-step process that guides the project team on the deliverables. Planning is required for new technology to leave the research and development stage. The stages in the technology development life cycle include research and development, proof of concept, stage 1 development, full product development, and marketing. The research and development stage is involved coming out with new ideas that can be used to produce new technology. In this stage, the innovators research various ideas and decide on the idea to use for the technology (Branscomb, & Auerswald, 2002). This is one of the most important stages as it may determine the success of the project. Most the new ideas do not go past the research and development stage. What follows R&D is the proof-of-concept stage which is done to ascertain if the technical device or processes has value.
The next phase is stage 1 production and involves coming up with a prototype of the technology and analyzing if it meets the criteria for full production. Stage 1 production can also be referred to as early-stage production. The next stage is referred to as full product development and involves the complete production of the new technology in preparation for making it accessible to potential clients. The full production stage happens after the innovators have accessed enough levels of capital to permit production (Bartlett, 2018). Once the full capital is acquired, what follows is initial production and marketing. Marketing is pivotal in placing the new technology in the marketplace (Reuer & Devarakonda, 2017). In this phase, investors may start witnessing returns on their initial investments. Funding in the first three stages can be accessed from angel investors, corporations, and technology labs (Bartlett, 2018). In the last two stages, funding may come from corporations, venture capitalists, equity, commercial debt, and technology labs.
Technology Transfer Processes
Technology transfer involves the exchange of technology between different entities in the public and private domain. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has established a program that seeks to provide guidelines on how technology can be transferred. The technology transfer program promotes research and partnerships and offers protection through licensing and monitoring the inventions. There are different mechanisms used to transfer technology between different entities. One of the mechanisms is through cooperative research and development agreements where the federal government can agree with a non-federal agent to conduct research and come up with new technology (Department of Homeland Security, 2021). It is the most commonly used technology transfer mechanism. Another mechanism is through licensing agreements where the rightful owner of the intellectual property rights agrees with another party permitting the party to use the IP in strict adherence to the terms of the contract.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is also used to provide a framework for coordination between different entities. MOU helps create cooperation between the collaborating entities because it ensures that there is a commitment from both sides (Department of Homeland Security, 2021). A partnership intermediary agreement is another mechanism for technology transfer. PIA is an agreement between DHS and another state or non-profit firm. The agreement allows the intermediary to look for new technologies which can be used by DHS. It also allows the intermediary to help accelerate the projects undertaken jointly by DHS and other entities (Department of Homeland Security, 2021). Technology transfer has to use a mechanism that respects the intellectual property rights of the owner.
A review of the technology development life cycle indicates that technology transfer occurs in some of the stages. Through research and development, innovators identify the technologies that are a priority for the market. For the new technology to succeed in the market, there needs to be the development of effective transfer methods that assist entities in succeeding in implementing any technology (Branscomb, & Auerswald, 2002). In product development, stage technology transfer may also occur when promoting the technology to potential clients. Also, in the marketing stage, technology transfer may occur when planning how to monitor the feedback from the clients.
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Funding Sources and Issues
The transfer of technology depends on the availability of funding options to succeed. The main objective of the technology transfer process is to come up with new technologies that can solve existing challenges. In the cybersecurity field, funding can be accessed from a variety of options such as venture capitalists, corporates, government agencies, and research labs (Munari et al., 2018). During the initial stage of the technology development life cycle, the innovators can access research funds. Research funds are provided by universities, government agencies, corporate entities, and personal assets (Bartlett, 2018). The funds are intended to research the idea to identify how to turn it into new technology. The cybersecurity industry has access to many entities which can fund potential new technology because of the huge potential in the field. Accessing funding at the research and development stage can be challenging (Munari et al., 2018). Once the technology passes the R&D stage, the innovator can access investment funding from angel investors, equity firms, venture capitalists, and the public (Islam et al., 2018). Investment funds are provided to innovators who can provide a prototype that explains how the new technology will work (Pawlak & Barmpaliou, 2017). It is essential to convince the investors that the technology is worth funding.
Many funding sources understand that the cybersecurity industry has great potential and hence strive to provide funds for potential new technologies. This is because the challenges in the cybersecurity field keep on evolving, which enhances the chances of start-ups coming up with new solutions. The government, through different entities such as DHS, is one of the most important sources of funds. This is because the government has an interest in enhancing the growth and security of the country (Bartlett, 2018). Therefore, the government provides funds to private entities to spur innovation which aids economic growth. The government uses entities such as the DHS, public universities, and research laboratories to create programs that assist in the development of new technologies. The DHS technology transfer program has assisted various government agencies in accessing funding. Also, it has helped in protecting the intellectual property rights of various projects that have been started through a collaboration with private entities. Funding is crucial to the success of all the projects. Organizations have realized that the cybersecurity market is lucrative and are looking to capitalize.
The development of new technologies in the cybersecurity field is essential in the economic growth of a country. Cybercriminals have become bold in that they target the essential components of a country’s infrastructure. The recent attacks on the colonial pipeline are a testament to the boldness of cybercriminals. Governments and private entities have to come together and provide solutions that will prevent more losses. Collaboration can be done through funding or technology transfer. Funding is crucial to the successful development and deployment of any technology project. Technology transfer is essential as it allows two entities to collaborate. The DHS has a program that provides mechanisms on how the transfer process should happen.
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