Five Lessons On Cybersecurity From An Israeli General

July 18, 2016

Elizabeth MacBride

When it comes to cybersecurity, Israel sits at the center of the world. Israeli companies exported $6.5 billion a year worth of cyberproducts, about 10% of the world market, based on data from Israel’s National Cyber Bureau.

That’s up from only a 1-2% share of the much smaller market five years ago. The cybersecurity business in the United States is obviously bigger, but per capita, Israeli companies’ presence in this market — one of the fastest-growing opportunities of the 21st century — is huge. (The country has about 8 million people).

In short, the Startup Nation has a sub-specialty. How did it get one? It turns out to be a top-down initiative, straight from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Last week, I interviewed Isaac ben Israel, who’s called the father of Israel’s cybersecurity business. He recently wrote an academic-style book on the topic called Cybersecurity in Israel.

It was a fascinating conversation in ben Israel’s small office, decorated with posters of Albert Einstein (he has a degree in physics). I walked away thinking about how entrepreneurs and their supporters ought to look at a world in which technology is the biggest friend and greatest vulnerability.

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