On Wednesday, The Washington Post explained how Israel plans to become a “cybersecurity superpower.”
The article recounted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vision to for Israel to “not only to have the best military wonks in the world, but also to partner Israel’s high-tech military with the country’s venture capitalists and young computer talent to offer clients defensive strategies against” the kinds of cyberattacks that have been in the news against major corporations and even nations. It also noted that this vision included a strong dose of self-interest as Israel weathered such attacks including “attempts to disrupt the country’s electricity and enter systems guarded by the Israel Defense Forces,” during Operation Protective Edge.
The profile also provided some numbers and an endorsement that illustrate Israel’s prowess in cybersecurity.
Israel has become the world’s No. 2 exporter of cyber products and services, after the United States. There are 200 homegrown cybersecurity companies in Israel, alongside dozens of joint research-and-development ventures. They produced $3 billion in exports last year, or about 5 percent of the $60 billion global market in products designed to keep hackers from crashing systems or siphoning data with viruses, malware and purloined passwords.
Haden Land, vice president of research and technology at Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s largest defense contractors, whose company just opened a cyber-focused subsidiary in Israel, predicts that the global market will reach $100 billion this year and that Israel will be a center for innovation.
Last week an Israeli company Mobile Spaces announced its sale to the American-based Pulse Secure for an estimated $100 million.
In The Sabras of Silicon Valley, which was published in the October 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, Miriam Pollock explained that the acquisition of an Israeli company by an American company actually strengthens Israel tech sector.
When a startup is “moved” to Silicon Valley, moreover, it rarely moves in its entirety. Usually, only the headquarters is transferred. Once in California, sales, marketing, and management employees interact with venture capitalists, journalists, and other businesspeople in order to get the company noticed. But the “guts” of the organization—research and development (R&D)—stays in Israel.
An R&D branch improves on existing products and develops new technologies. It keeps a company relevant. And R&D tends to stay in Israel because R&D there is exceptionally strong. The number of multinational tech companies with R&D centers in Israel attests to this. Among them are Intel, Google, GM, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Cisco Systems, Sears, Oracle, and Apple. In Israel, they can recruit young men and women fresh out of the Israel Defense Force’s elite intelligence and computer science units. These talented engineers have received an education on par with that provided by MIT or Stanford.
[Photo: מכון היצוא / YouTube ]