An Overview of Israel’s CyberSecurity Industry

The reThink Cybersecurity Israel is an experiential learning trip organised by CIO Academy Asia for CISOs, CIOs and Heads of info-Security in public and private sectors. The objective of the trip is for delegates to network with others on the trip, and connect with leading experts from government, corporations, incubators and universities in Israel. A total of 30 delegates from both private and public agencies from Singapore and the Philippines attended this first-of-its kind study trip.

An Overview of Israel’s Cyber Security Industry by Israel Export Unit

1. This export unit is a non-government unit but is subsidised by Ministry of Economics. Its goal is to promote Israel’s technology from Business to Business or Business to Government avenues. It does not involve in Government to Government dealings / relationships.

2. According to Achiad, the Manager of the Cyber Unit, Israel has 4 broad sectors as shown below:

  • Banking and Finance,
  • Critical Infrastructure — power, water etc,
  • Government, Military and Intelligence, and
  • Enterprises, IOTs & mobile devices.

3. There are more than 350 companies in the Israeli Cyber Industry and more than 90% are start-ups. In 2016, the export value of these companies is about $3.5 B, which is about 5% of the worldwide market.

4. Israel’s cyber security efforts are co-ordinated by National Cyber Security Authority, (similar to Singapore’s CSA) that was established in 2014. Before that, it was co-ordinated by:

  • PMO’s National Cyber Bureau (established in 2012),
  • PM’s Cyber Initiative (established in 2010),
  • NISA established in 2002 to co-ordinate cyber security initiatives at the national level — 2002), and
  • Tehila established in 1997 to coordinate cyber security concerns at the government level.

5. In the past 20 years or so, the government has been nurturing the growth of cyber security technology in a very co-ordinated manner. Israel’s unique situation in a hostile neighbourhood has made her to be security savvy in every aspect of their life and cyber security is just one of them.

6. They also introduced cyber security related subjects in the school syllabus for the students as young as 13 years (Junior High School). Over the years, they created a cyber eco system comprising of the following national establishments:

  • Strong R & D at the universities,
  • Government level Cyber Ops Centres, and
  • Dedicated Cyber Security Tech Park housing many matured and new start-ups.

7. The following are the guiding principles of the Israeli government’s cyber security for the nation:

  • In cyber security, collaboration is key. If someone is not secured, all are not secured;
  • Cyber security is a classified matter and it is not openly discussed;
  • Strict compliance is necessary for matters related to areas vital to Israel’s survival — e.g. power sector;
  • The level of compliance is not a key concern in areas not critical to the nation.

8. Government leads cyber investments centrally in well-co-ordinated manner. The government’s commitment for civilian sector (military sector is separate and confidential):

  • Human capital — training / education — $75-$100 Mil — over the next 5 years
  • Academia — $75-$100 Mil — over the next 5 years
  • Industry — R&D — $75-$100 Mil — over the next 5 years

9. The following areas are the current focus of investment:

  • IOT,
  • Cloud security, and
  • Mobile device security

10. In terms of skilled manpower for cyber security, there is a high demand for R&D personnel and the demand for personnel for cyber security operations is relatively manageable. (However, this contradicted with what I gathered from the Energy Sector SOC personnel. The SOCs are also facing acute shortage for experienced Tier 1, Tier 2 & Tier 3 personnel.)


This initiative by CIO Academy Asia was first of its kind and very much appreciated by the participants. This was the most efficient study visit because the CIO Academy has done all the ground works by engaging the leading companies and the relevant government authorities on behalf of the participants. The whole visit program was very well organised and met the trip objectives.

*Article written by a participant from the Government Sector (Singapore)

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