The effects of the solutions produced by the Israeli Cybersecurity industry are by no means limited to the shores of the Holy Land. By garnering 16% of global funding during 2017, a good increase on the figures from 2016, the Israeli cybersecurity sector is running a significantly close second only to the United States. Moreover, projections for 2018 are also looking good. However, what exactly is it that is pulling so much interest from international corporates?

Securing The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things can quite literally be described as the fastest growing worldwide phenomenon over the last decade, if not longer. More and more areas of everyday life are incorporating connectivity as an expected feature. Even devices traditionally perceived as non-high-tech, such as dishwashers, electronic pacemakers, and even passenger train engines, are now connected, oftentimes even to the cloud.

This in and of itself presents both a positive user opportunity and a worrying security threat. The number of new inter-connected devices being created, and the rate at which they are being adopted, is booming, which is causing corporate networks to fast become unwieldy and difficult to manage. Many devices traditionally considered to be low-tech are now connected, regardless of whether smaller or larger in size, including anything from pacemakers to passenger trains.

As stated in the Start-Up Nation Central Finder Series Cybersecurity Report:

“…IoT security risk is not only a threat to the corporate network, but can also be harmful to industrial OT networks, smart grids, connected cars, and to the internet infrastructure itself… [raising] a huge challenge in the management of networks, and in the development of smart devices”

Unsurprisingly, one of every three new start-ups founded in 2017 involved IoT security technologies and solutions.

The Alarming Issue of Privacy Protection

While there are many positives involved in the issue of IoT, it has also raised many hackles. Not only has the amount of accessible data grown exponentially as an indirect result of the proliferation of IoT among next-generation devices, but also much of this information is or could be potentially sensitive. The recent debacle with Cambridge Analytics points to just one aspect of this, and it was not an isolated incident. Furthermore, the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which went live recently, will heavily affect business cycles, since organizations and companies are now obligated by law to keep, protect and administer data in a far stricter and much more heavily structured (regulated) manner.

That said, according to the Start-Up Nation Central Finder Series Cybersecurity Report, this may be a good thing as far as privacy is concerned:

“…policymakers are becoming more concerned with the effect of cyber breaches on individual privacy, and are starting to enforce safer data management. The GDPR… targets any business that holds private information on EU residents, and may lead companies to handle personal data with a higher standard of care.”

Start-Up Nation Central has seen and heard actual evidence through many of our global corporate clients, about how this affects them, and influences business decisions, and the adoption of cutting-edge cybersecurity measures. Indeed, it might seem to some that this is one of the reasons why many find themselves in Israel in the first place, given that the Israeli cybersecurity industry is so strong. However, the evidence to which Start-Up Nation Central is privy is only a small part of the global picture – from other data that we have collected, the success of the Israeli cybersecurity sector is something that has been growing and flourishing for years, and its reputation is both laudable and well-deserved.

Challenges as Defined by Corporate Entities

According to the Start-Up Nation Central Finder Series Cybersecurity Report, the fields of interest shown by our clients indicate the challenges perceived as noteworthy by global corporates in 2017, with roughly half interested in IoT solutions for their own corporate networks, their Operational Technology networks or for their customers – up significantly on 2016. Also attracting much interest in 2017 were solutions for security operations, such as threat intelligence, incident response and SIEM integration, together with risk management and domain compliance – also a response to GDPR. Financial institutions were largely concerned with anti-fraud and authentication solutions for mobile devices.

The Maturation of Cybersecurity

It’s not just that the Israeli Cybersecurity ecosystem is growing chronologically older, which, let’s face it, could be said of everyone and everything. It’s also that the sector, if not exactly coming of age, is ripening into a well-established entity, with Israeli cybersecurity companies gaining more and more opportunities to grow, become profitable and position themselves as industry leaders. As a direct result of this, investments in these companies seems to occur more frequently at a later stage.

IoT is the Place To Be

Both locally and globally, 2017 was the year in which the cybersecurity sector began to really devote increased and more substantial efforts into developing solutions dealing with the defense of IoT and connected devices. Certain specific IoT segments also saw an amplification in terms of attention and effort, including automotive systems, medical devices and industrial control systems. In fact, according to the Start-Up Nation Central Finder Series Cybersecurity Report, the largest subsector of newly founded companies is Connected Devices, IoT and Control Systems, exceeding Network security for the first time ever.

Click here to download your copy of the Start-Up Nation Central Finder Series Cybersecurity Report.

Nir Falevich is the Cybersecurity Sector Lead at Start-Up Nation Central. His aim is to connect business and government leaders with the people and technologies in Israel’s Cybersecurity sector that can solve the most pressing challenges. Prior to his role as a research analyst at Start-Up Nation Central, he was Business Intelligence Developer at Ginger Software, a US and Israel-based ed-tech software company. Prior to that, Nir served in several positions in IDF’s Technology & Intelligence Unit 8200. Nir holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Political Science and Economics (PPE) from the Hebrew University.