The rise of Israeli Cyber-Security firms
Fri 18 Feb 2022 | Finbarr Toesland
Cyberattacks are on the rise globally, with businesses, governments and private individuals all being potential victims of highly damaging criminal actors. According to research from technology firm Cisco, the number of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are set to more than double by 2023 with 15.4 million attacks. In January of this year, a total of 95 security incidents were discovered that led to more than 66 million records being breached, indicating the vast scale of these threats.
As organisations look for defences against these growing threats, Israel is increasingly being viewed as a leader in cybersecurity. Recent figures show that Israel’s cybersecurity industry reached record highs last year, with the sector raising $8.8 billion, triple the amount of 2020.
Late last year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced they had agreed a partnership with Israel to combat ransomware. According to Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Wally Adeyemo, the partnership will see benefits from technological innovation to increase prosperity, as well as defend against ransomware.
“As the global economy recovers and ransomware and other illicit finance threats present a grave challenge to Israel and the United States, increased information exchanges, joint work, and collaboration on policy, regulation, and enforcement are critical to our economic and national security objectives,” adds Adeyemo.
In practice, the agreement will support staff training and study visits between the two nations and help improve information sharing around financial service firms, in a bid to improve security.
The burgeoning cybersecurity ecosystem in Israel is comprised of a wide array of companies that range all the way from multibillion dollar conglomerates to innovative start-up with just a handful of employees.
Israeli cybersecurity startup Salt Security has quickly built up both a powerful brand and growth capital from international investors. Founded in 2015, the firm uses machine learning and AI to automatically help secure the APIs (application programming interfaces) of clients.
After a recent funding round led by the growth fund of Google, called CapitalG, Salt Security is now valued at $1.4 billion, making it a rare private company with a valuation of over $1 billion. It’s not just Israeli firms that use the services of Salt Security with a number of Fortune 500 businesses in a mix of industries using their products.
Long-standing companies like Check Point Software Technologies also play a vital role in the industry and are more than able to compete with innovative start-ups. With revenue forecast to reach more than $2.2 billion this year, after increasing by 5% last year, Check Point Software Technologies is one of the most prominent cybersecurity firms currently operating. The firm offers an extremely wide range of services including network security, endpoint security, cloud security and security management.
Despite only being founded two years ago, cloud cybersecurity firm Wiz is rapidly growing and reached unicorn status quickly, after being valued at $1.7 billion last year. The cybersecurity company attribute their success to the ability of their service to scale to any cloud environment in mere minutes, with it then being able to analyse the entire security stack for risks.
There are a number of reasons why Israel’s cybersecurity industry has managed to achieve strong, sustained growth over recent years. The Israeli government itself has long viewed developing the industry as an important objective, with the creation of the National Cyber Bureau in 2011 marking a new level of involvement of the government in the sector.
Perhaps the most significant difference in Israel compared to other leading cybersecurity nations is the value placed on cybersecurity in the education sector. Not only was Israel the first country to offer cybersecurity as an elective for high schoolers but it also established the first PhD solely in cybersecurity.
By fostering a talented cybersecurity workforce, Israel has been able to bypass many of the challenges related to skills gaps and a lack of staff with the right skills for the cybersecurity industry.
Written by Finbarr Toesland Fri 18 Feb 2022