Telos History

Throughout every decade of its history, Telos has remained committed to the core values woven into the fabric of its culture: always with integrity, Telos employees build trusted relationships, work hard together, design and deliver superior solutions, and have fun doing it.


Technology Flourishes, Space Exploration Takes Off, and Telos Finds Its Beginnings

Telos was founded in Santa Monica, Calif., and incorporated in Maryland in 1971. Considered one of the original federal systems integrators, Telos supplied specialized software and computer programs for military customers.

As space exploration flourished, Telos used technology to design and develop the tailored solutions space organizations required for mission success. The company developed and supported ground-based telemetry systems for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., as well as other defense and aerospace organizations.

Telos was instrumental in the Voyager mission to Jupiter and Saturn in 1979. Telos software engineers contributed to the development of the distributed, real-time telemetry and image processing and computer programs for the Voyager spacecraft, scientific instruments, and cameras.


The Internet Takes Root, Computer Security Is Big Business, and Telos Diversifies

In pursuit of the opportunities the burgeoning personal computer market offered, Telos diversified its business, and by the late 1980s, Telos became a national computer software and hardware service company.

More than 1,400 Telos employees in 31 states provided software design, development, maintenance, and consulting services. Telos remained true to its customer base: 90% of revenue came from government customers, including the U.S. Army, NASA, and industrial aerospace and defense companies.

In the 1980s, Telos designed an early award-winning program for Apple Macintosh called FileVision, which InfoWorld magazine named a software Product of the Year in 1985, and The Club Mac News called “the single most important piece of software to show up since Lotus 1-2-3.” FileVision was a database application that was the predecessor for FrameMaker—which today is a leading software application for authoring and publishing technical content across mobile, web, desktop, and print.


The World Goes Online, Cyber Espionage Emerges, and Telos Turns Turbulence into Transformation

The early 1990s were a turbulent time for Telos—but new visionary leadership recognized this era as the impetus for transformation. Within a few years, Telos had transitioned from software and hardware services to network integration and other technical services, and had established itself as a major player in the ultra-competitive market for federal computer systems integration.

The company continued to support the defense industry and serve the warfighter in the field by developing ruggedized computers that could operate in harsh, adversarial environments. In the mid-1990s, this ruggedized business was offloaded, so the company could focus time and resources pursuing the emerging fields of network and information security.

Recognizing certification and accreditation (C&A) as a key emerging requirement for secure network operations, Telos had the foresight to begin investing in ways to make C&A less about documentation and check-box compliance, and more about helping customers understand risk posture from an organizational stance, and on an ongoing basis.

In the mid-1990s, Telos acquired a sophisticated computer message handling system from the government: the Automated Message Handling System (AMHS), which automatically routed electronic mail and news to interested readers according to content. Now widely used throughout the DoD, AMHS is the official communications medium for the DoD’s most sensitive messaging, which requires absolute authority and 100% certainty (e.g.,military execution orders, terrorist warnings, intelligence information, nuclear command and control, etc.).

In continued support of the U.S. space program, Telos also played a role in the 1997 mission to Mars: Telos developed the software architecture and programs that allowed the Mars Pathfinder Rover to function reliably in the unpredictable Martian environment.

By the end of the decade, Telos has positioned itself as a trusted provider of system integration, identity management, and information and network security.


A Connected World, Technology at Our Fingertips, and Telos Shapes Security Risk Management

Telos entered the new millennium as a leading supplier of enterprise integration and information system security solutions to the federal government, deriving value from company-developed intellectual property, processes, and methodologies.

The decade was a turning point in company history with the creation of the cyber risk management solution, Xacta®, which helped customers go beyond simply complying with federal information security mandates. With Xacta, Telos offered customers a holistic view of risk management and business optimization. The name Xacta became synonymous with enterprise IT security and risk management, and it won numerous awards and accolades from industry peers and analysts.

At the time, one industry analyst said, “I had pondered that there had to be a better way to manage risks, policies, controls, compliance requirements…[when] Telos demonstrated a solution to me that did just that…I saw a great demand for this type of solution, and decided that it needed its own market segment and name.” After that Xacta demonstration, the name “Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance” was born.

Meeting the growing demand for new ways to secure infrastructure and data, Telos also focused on developing, applying, and delivering solutions for identity management and secure access in critical areas such as employment, benefits, health, safety, and security.


Technology in Every Pocket, Cyber Becomes a Warfighting Domain, and Telos Becomes a Leader in Cybersecurity

The decade opened with Telos focused on enhancing and expanding its core cybersecurity, cloud security, and enterprise security capabilities.

In support of securing U.S. infrastructure in the midst of the global War on Terror, Telos identity management business introduced Designated Aviation Channeling (DAC), an offering that helps ensure the safety and security of U.S. airports and air carriers by quickly and efficiently conducting aviation worker background checks.

After years of development and enhancements, the company launched Telos Ghost®, a security solution that went beyond traditional network security measures to protect critical assets by exploiting technology to make assets unrecognizable and undetectable.

The cybersecurity industry was quickly evolving—and government and commercial entities sought solutions for working in an increasingly complex and connected world. During this time, Telos remained dedicated to identifying customer needs and answering those needs by developing, expanding, or acquiring advanced technologies. For example, Telos developed security compliance solutions for the cloud and was an early advocate of the cloud’s inherent security. Telos’ work with the intelligence community (IC) to support its Commercial Cloud Services (C2S) environment has helped ensure the continuous security posture of the IC’s cloud-based systems and applications.  

As a result of these and other initiatives, Telos earned the trust of the most security-conscious customers in the world, who viewed Telos as the gold standard for solutions that empower and protect information, people, and infrastructure.


A Pandemic Amplifies Digital Connectivity, Artificial Intelligence Changes Cybersecurity, and Telos Enters a New Era

Today, Telos—now publicly traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under ticker symbol TLS—is a leader in cloud, enterprise, and cybersecurity, helping organizations operate and succeed in increasingly complex environments.

With a laser focus on helping customers in the DoD, intelligence community, state and local governments, and highly regulated commercial organizations thrive in a time of digital transformation and accelerated cloud adoption, Telos provides solutions that automate risk management and compliance, help speed migration to the cloud, and maintain a secure environment.

In that pursuit, Telos has expanded its business model to include partnerships with channels such as integrators and prime contractors that have helped open up new markets such as healthcare and finance.

As Telos continues to carve out its leadership role in the future of cybersecurity, strong, trusted relationships with customers, employees, partners, and investors are a top priority.

Throughout every decade of its history, Telos has remained committed to the core values woven into the fabric of its culture: always with integrity, Telos employees build trusted relationships, work hard together, design and deliver superior solutions, and have fun doing it.