The Massachusetts-Israel Cybersecurity Partnership is Hard at Work

BOSTON — The Massachusetts-Israel partnership has a longstanding reputation for success dating back to 1992. A number of Israeli-founded cybersecurity firms operate in Boston. They include, but are not limited to, CyberArk, Cybereason and Hexadite. In July, Tufin Ltd. became the latest Israeli cybersecurity firm to open its US headquarters in Boston.

MA Governor Charlie Baker, Professor Isaac Ben Israel, Consul General to New England Yehuda Yaakov

Events to take place throughout September and October of this year will further demonstrate the Massachusetts-Israel innovative partnership hard at work. Central among them was the Commonwealth’s first annual CEO Cybersecurity Forum on September 14. Hosted by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, in collaboration with the Harvard Business School and Professor Isaac Ben Israel of Tel Aviv University’s Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Center, attendees will explore the landscape of cybersecurity entrepreneurship, the real-world implications of security breaches, as well as ways in which Massachusetts can strengthen its leadership position.

Professor Ben Israel, long referred to as the “father” of Israel’s cybersecurity ecosystem, has led a decorated career in Israel’s public, private and academic sectors. He served as the Head of Military R&D in the Israeli Defense Forces and Ministry of Defense and later in his career was appointed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lead a task force which resulted in the creation of Israel’s National Cyber Authority.

In addition to the HBS event, Professor Ben Israel visited other leading academic institutions throughout the region. At Dartmouth College he met with fmr. US Ambassador Daniel Benjamin and fmr. US Secretary of DHS Rand Beers. He also participated in an open discussion at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center Cyber Security Project.

Amb. Daniel Benjamin, Professor Isaac Ben Israel, Fmr. US Secretary of DHS Rand Beers

Leading up to Governor Charlie Baker’s Economic Development Mission to Israel in December 2016, a New England-Israel Business Council (NEIBC) study revealed that Israeli-founded companies operating in Massachusetts booked in over $9 billion in revenue for 2015 — nearly four percent of the State’s GDP — and supported over 27,000 employees. Since the trade mission, Massachusetts has continued to welcome Israel’s global leadership in cybersecurity and digital health as a means to generate even greater economic benefits for the Commonwealth.

During the 2016 Mission, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel’s CyberSpark, a non-profit organization in Beersheva, Israel committed to the creation of a unique cybersecurity ecosystem made possible by academic, industry and government resources. On September 13, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the Massachusetts Cyber Forum convened cybersecurity companies, thought leaders, research and development centers and universities for the Commonwealth’s first-ever Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum.

In the Governor’s opening remarks he stated, “The reason we were in Israel in the first place is because they are 20 years ahead of everyone else.”

In October, The Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry and the Israel Export Institute, co-sponsored by the Israeli Consulate and NEIBC are to host a delegation of 22 Israeli-based cybersecurity companies in Boston. Representatives from each company will pitch their latest technologies to a room of investors, industry leaders and representatives from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and MassChallenge. Keynote Speaker Michael Loria is the Vice President of Business and Corporate Development for IBM’s Security Division. He will offer remarks on the past, present and future of information security.

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