Israel: The Next Key Player in the Cybersecurity Industry (Forbes)

As many know, Israel has carved out a strong place in the cybersecurity industry, with many companies there playing a prominent role in cyber defense technology, research and development, and data protection. Indeed, Israel has the world’s second-largest cyber market, second only to the United States. To further discuss this topic, I’ll be speaking with my colleague, Einat Meisel, who is head of O’Melveny’s Israel Practice, and is familiar with both the industry and the numerous cross-border transactions involving the area.

Q: Why is Israel a hub for the cybersecurity industry?

A: It makes a lot of sense considering the fact that security has been a social, cultural, and political priority throughout the country’s history. I would also say the creation of the State of Israel was itself an entrepreneurial endeavor. And since its creation, Israel has had to be continually vigilant to handle enemies and threats along its borders and beyond. Protecting Israel from threats at all levels, both on line and off, is a major focus of Israeli governmental strategy. As a result, the military invests heavily in computing technologies, particularly in the intelligence branches.

The largest military unit in the Israel Defense Forces is 8200, Israel’s legendary elite cyber intelligence unit, a high-tech spy agency that is considered by intelligence analysts to be one of the most formidable of its kind in the world. With a culture that closely resembles that of a start-up, soldiers work in small groups, with limited resources, to crack major—possibly existential—problems. The soldiers are encouraged to question and challenge authority.  In other words, they are trained to think creatively, honing their ingenuity and innovating thinking, all traits that as alumni they can parlay in new ventures in civilian life.

In addition, the Israeli government strongly supports science education, with multiple research facilities throughout the country focusing on  IT and cutting edge technologies.  There are also multiple government programs to support and foster start-ups and technology ventures.

Q: How would you describe the cyber industry in Israel?

A: Given the cultural, political and social factors, Israel’s expertise in cyber security has evolved naturally in the areas of the internet and network security, anti-virus software, including antifraud and authentication, data protection, and other cyber defense technologies.  In addition, the IoT and automotive security sectors have grown significantly. Indeed Israel has been a pioneer in these areas, with companies like Check Point, which developed one of the first fire wall systems; and CyberArk, a data protection company that now claims as customers approximately15 percent of the Global 2000 and raised $86 million with its 2014 IPO. Other Israeli companies like the cloud security firm Adallom, which Microsoft purchased in 2015 for $250 million; and Rafael, which developed the Iron Dome and more recently an IoT platform designed for the commercial market, continue to do cutting-edge work.

Q: What kinds of products and services are being offered?

Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ February 27, 2017 at 02:24PM

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