HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — As technology improves, online presences from personal computers to national defense databases are put at greater risk. This week, thousands of people leading the cyber defense industry are meeting in Huntsville to provide digital solutions to online threats.

“Cyber is important to anyone,” said National Cyber Summit Director Judy Darwin. “If you connect to the network, then you’re a target. Obviously, we have a lot of connections to the network in industry, in government, and in academia.”

The National Cyber Summit is the nation’s largest cyber security and technology event. It attracts a diverse group of businesses, nonprofits, and governmental organizations from across the globe to Huntsville.

Cyber Summit attendees are industry professionals working to identify online international threats. In addition to protecting military secrets, cyber security measures have the potential to protect domestic economic interests and trade secrets abroad.

“Mainly foreign nation-states, so North Korea, Iran, Russia, and especially China,” said Gray Analytics Vice President and General Counsel Jay Town. “They are not only involved in economic espionage in this country to the tune of five hundred and forty billion dollars in lost American ingenuity but in the manner in which they are doing it by cyber means, not just human intelligence.”

Summit participants said the technology present at the conference allows organizations to protect U.S. citizens in their daily lives.

“We bank somewhere, and we shop somewhere,” Town said. “We don’t even think about whether or not that information, our credit card information, our banking information, and our personal information, how that might be shared and how it may be lost to a malign foreign actor or a bad guy. We want as consumers and as citizens, our government to keep us safe. The commercial enterprises we engage with, we want them to keep our information safe. The only way that happens is through cyber security.”

Sentar representative Steve Pratt said the cyber security industry is relatively small, but the scope of the industry’s responsibilities is far-reaching.

“Companies are attacked on a daily basis,” Pratt said. “We’ve got different nation-state actors, China and Russia, that attack our U.S. government’s facilities, and there just really aren’t a lot of companies or people that do cyber security and the ins and outs of how they do it.”

Cyber security relies on collaboration, and the meetings taking place at the National Cyber Summit are pushing the industry forward.

“Different organizations have different strengths and capabilities, so this is a great opportunity to meet different organizations and learn what they do well and learn where partnerships make sense to face the burgeoning threat from a cyber standpoint,” said Gray Analytics President Scott Gray.

The National Cyber Summit will continue through Thursday, September 22.