Most people who think about leading global players in online
security concerns think big: the United States, China, and Russia.
Quietly, though, Israel has emerged as a world leader in this area.
Known as "Start-up Nation" since the release of Dan Senor
and Saul Singer's 2009 book of the same title, Israel has
created a culture of technological development and growth. It
promotes learning and understanding in
technology, both culturally and through its recruitment of top
minds in service to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), resulting in a
country continually pushing the technological curve forward.
Service and Training
Israel requires that all citizens over the age of 18 enlist in
the IDF. The compulsory service requirement opens a large pool of
candidates for high-level training. From this group, Israel's
8200 intelligence unit has the opportunity to choose the best among
them to train and serve in cyber intelligence. In turn, many of the
best of these develop into the online security leaders for the
government and private companies.
Invention From Necessity
Israel's focus on cyber security is no accident. Uniquely
situated among nations often hostile to its interests, Israel must
remain vigilant against the threat of attacks from military
operations and computer operations. Its culture of innovation led
to its myriad start-up successes, but the IDF focus comes from a
nationwide focus on security, a focus that has led inexorably to
the current mantle of the cyber security nation.
Several successful, high-profile intrusion events concerning
various corporate and government networks clearly illustrate the
burgeoning market for cyber security solutions. According to a
recent January 2016 article on the leading Israeli business site,
Globes, there were over 430 cyber security oriented enterprises,
with 19 post IPO. The oldest Israeli cyber security company is
Check Point Software Technologies (Nasdaq: CHKP), who (again
according to Globes) has a market cap of over 15 billion. Since
1993, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. has expanded to the
degree that they operate in hundreds of countries with technology
partners such as IBM, Microsoft and others. Check Point is not the
only cyber security company that has seen growth, as all the other
companies, including Cyber Ark Software Inc. (Nasdaq:CYBR) have
also experienced considerable growth.
Israel's national focus has led to a surge in online
security development and expertise. The world continues to require
more focus in these areas, and Israel is leading the way.
Originally published March 27, 2016
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