Year in Preview: What's in store for Massachusetts business in 2017?

December 29, 2016

Kelly O'Brien

Changes are afoot in areas that could have major effects on industries like real estate, finance, health care, technology and biotech. Here are the issues we’re watching in the year ahead and their potential impact on local business.

All eyes on cybersecurity: Like an umbrella salesman in Seattle, the cybersecurity industryshould have an easy time arguing for the value of their wares in 2017. Hacking headlines are all around us — from ransomware attacks launched against corporations to foreign actors meddling with American politics — and are likely to continue in 2017.

The Boston area is well-positioned to take advantage of increased attention around cybersecurity.

IBM Security unveiled its new Cambridge office in late 2016 and next year will begin training corporate teams in its X-Force Command Center “cyber range” — a room specially designed for real-time simulations of cyberattacks.

Established private companies, like Carbon Black and Veracode, are on the short list for IPOs or acquisitions in 2017. And smaller companies continue to arrive, ensuring that the industry remains competitive. Gov. Charlie Baker recently traveled to Israel to persuade startups there to establish their first U.S. headquarters in Boston.

The Advanced Cyber Security Center, a Massachusetts-based trade organization, will expand its focus beyond simple knowledge sharing in the next year. The center plans to put effort into getting more workers into the cybersecurity talent pipeline and toward organizing industry positions on public policy matters, a skill that will become more crucial as talk of hacking permeates our politics. 

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