​Why is Israel the place for Cyber Security startups?

It appears that practice makes perfect, in the case of Israel they are a small country of only 8 million but punch above their weight when it comes to cyber security.

In recent years Korea, Japan and now Australia are embracing Israel’s cyber security ecosystem with their booming startup community. Our largest bank CBA has signed an MOU with Israel to be an advanced tester or new cyber security startup software.

Clearly the idea of personal mastery as Malcolm Gladwell denoted requires ‘10,000 hours rule’ of practice. I believe is well and truly the Israel story and taking what is a threat and then turning this into an opportunity.

Always Vigilant for Warfare

If you have ever visited Israel, it is the most unnerving place that I have seen. The locals are always alert and on standby for issues, as you sit in the coffee shop it is clear that as you enter then you are instantly assessed as threat or not?

The Israel not only possess nuclear capability they also use cyber security as a ‘sword and not just a shield’. An incredible example is the Israel Electric Corp – which is the equivalent of Origin or Energy Australia. The big difference is that they are undoubtedly battled hardened and enjoy more than 20,000 hacks each year. If you believe the reports, then they have managed to avoid any breaches.

Israel Cyber Security startup scene

On the report prepared in 2015 by Israel Cyberscape they noted an incredible 150 startup companies in this ecosystem, which enjoys a depth of talent that is surely the envy of many other nation-states. This includes Checkpoint and CyberArk.

The new startups include some well-known brands, but even more impressive is that they cover a number of subject area domains in this space. I’m sure our Australian Innovation Minister (Wyatt Roy) took notes of this on his recent visit to Israel.

Source: Israelcybermap.com
Source: Israelcybermap.com

Read more: ​Is the term 'cyber' - Misleading? Useful? Scaremongering? And what should we say instead of 'cyber security'?

Them against us?

We do need to build such cyber security capabilities, however this is not going to be a short-term fix. Let’s remember that Israel has been at war for many decades. It is only more recently that cyber security has surpassed weapons as an export commodity.

Read more: ​Here comes Amazon’s free digital certificate service for cloud apps

This is a more than US$6B industry, let’s put that in context our Beef export industry is worth around A$8B, thus we are talking of an equivalent value.

But do we have the raw materials? firstly the ‘them against us” mindset. I would say ‘no’, far from it we are still quite laid back as a nation. Our energy companies, do not enjoy 20,000 attacks per annum. Secondly, do we have excess supply of good software engineer? also ‘no’. We have many 186 visa applicants due to our capability gap. Thirdly, do we possess a booming cyber security startup community? and unfortunately the answer is again ‘no’. There is an increase in Fintech startups, but it is rare to see cyber security innovation in this country. And I’m on the lookout for this and still have issues to locate such new entrants.

Even Anonymous called for hackers to target Israel, and they have been unsuccessful todate.

10,000 hours

If only we could be masters of Cyber Security after 10,000 hours.

Well, that’s only 416 days, but like Malcolm Gladwell noted, a person with the talent of Michael Jordan who practices that many hours will become a ‘master’.

We just need to find our own potential yoda to train into a Cyber Force.

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Tags JapanCBAisraelkoreaAustraliaCyberArksoftwareMalcolm GladwellDavid GeeCSO Australiacyber securityCheckpoint

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