Lessons from Cybertech Global Tel Aviv 2020

At its biggest event outside the USA, Cybertech in Israel had many important messages to deliver to tens of thousands of visitors.

At the end of January, delegations from over 50 countries (including Japan) came to Israel for Cybertech Global 2020 to plug into the latest thinking and developments in an industry that is travelling too fast.

The main trends for 2020

The following topics were covered frequently by world-leading cyber experts speaking at the Tel Aviv show: 

Application of AI to security tools

Wrongdoers with criminal or political intent are applying AI capabilities to strike fast and wide. The Number One priority is therefore to have powerful AI counter-measures that ensure high protection.

Israeli companies across the cyber spectrum are developing sophisticated AI-intensive tools to counter these growing threats.

Securing the supply chain

Potential damage by cyber attack is so evident today that collaboration is essential. Anthony Aurigemma, VP at IBM Security Europe said: “The challenges that our industry faces mean that we need to continue to invest in both open-standards-based platforms and build partnerships with security vendors of every size.”

The emphasis in Israel is on a connected stream of ‘centers of excellence’ that will prevent any gaps in the security envelope.

Better protection for the cloud

Major investments are being made to secure the public cloud. Many companies in Israel are using cloud-native controls to drive data security. They also realize the challenges of what’s called the ‘hybrid multi-cloud’ – i.e where some cyber deployments use the public cloud, while others are private.

Ensuring a smooth and secure interface between the two zones is a large part of their specialist work.

Rise of the zero-trust standard

One of the new buzz-words in the cyber industry is ‘zero-trust’ and ‘identity-based verification’. These two safeguards are raising the bar for data access and are leading the way towards the demise of passwords.

Numerous Israeli companies are now embracing the zero-trust concept as part of their cyber security toolkit.

Setting up for the 5G challenge

With such intense use of mobile phones today for every activity, the advent of the 5G network will accelerate the change to ‘digital everything’. The main cyber security challenges are to share information correctly and set common standards. Israeli cyber companies are already seeking solutions to this approaching problem.

Protection against rogue nation states

It’s well known that certain nation states (Iran, China, Russia, North Korea, Turkey) use armies of hackers to try to score hits on ‘enemy’ countries. The Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) is a prime target – recording an average of 11,000 suspected cyber attacks every second in 2019.

Defending against hackers sponsored by nation states is a critical cyber concern today. As a result of its highly vulnerable position, Israel is supremely qualified to handle such threats. The Israel National Cyber Directorate leads many key initiatives. The IEC has developed unique skills via its special cyber unit to innovate cyber security products that are tailor-made for the energy industry.

These solutions are an additional layer that sits on top of other cyber protection tools. The IEC has now leveraged its expertise to assist a top Japanese energy utility in securing critical infrastructure prior to the Olympic Games.

A 10-year old boy at the Show says that he wants to be a Cyber expert

About Israel’s Cyber ecosystem

The Cybertech organizers, in collaboration with the IVC Research Center, published interesting facts about Israel’s cyber ecosystem today.

Over the past five years, the investment map has changed significantly. In 2015, 75% of the investments were made in follow-on programs for cyber security. Only 25% were placed in start-up programs. This meant that young companies had to manage on their own. But by 2019, 57% of all investments supported start-up initiatives in the field, with the remainder of 43% going to follow-on programs. So financial support for young companies has been greatly strengthened.

Out of 436 active high-tech companies monitored by IVC, 387 (or 88.7%) were involved with IT and Enterprise Software. Over half of them (227) were already at the Initial Revenue stage. The remaining companies (209) were at the R&D, Revenue Growth or Seed stages.

2019 recorded the highest number of exits (23) and also the highest value of those exits ($3457 million). This compared to 13 exits in 2018 at a value of $2809 million.

While the number of deals made in 2019 (75) was lower than the number in 2018 (119), the capital raised in those deals was much higher – $1884 million in 2019 compared to $1198 million in 2018.

Beer Sheva continues to grow as Israel’s designated Cyber Center. Many international companies are based there, as well as the National Cyber Center, an innovation center and a thriving start-up community. The Israeli Army is soon moving its large telecommunications base to the city.

The Keyzuna connection to cyber

Cyber is one of Keyzuna’s main points of focus. It invests great effort in getting to know both the established and start-up cyber companies. This places Keyzuna in a good position to help incoming Japanese visitors find their most suitable Israeli innovators.

Founder Mike Druttman explains: “The key is the Search Profile that we carefully prepare together with our clients. Since there are over 20 cyber classifications, we have to get the brief right before we start our search and selection process.”