Cooperation Between Israel & Ireland in The Cyber Security Industry

In the week that saw a major cyber attack on Britain’s nuclear industry, Ireland Israel Business and Cyber Ireland hosted a special forum to promote Irish-Israeli collaboration in developing national cyber strategies for protecting critical national infrastructure

Last week, Ireland Israel Business (‘IIB’) teamed up with industry group Cyber Ireland to convene a special event to promote Irish-Israeli cooperation in developing national cybersecurity strategies. The forum, attended by over 80 Irish IT industry leaders, welcomed a panel of notable speakers – including cyber experts from KPMG, Meptagon, Kontex and Accenture – to Dogpatch Labs in Dublin, offering their insight into the changing landscape of OT (operational technology) and industrial cybersecurity across borders. The evening included product roadmap presentations from two of the biggest Israeli cybersecurity success stories: CheckPoint and CyberX.

The event was opened by a presentation from Mr. Buky Carmeli, former Director-General of the Israeli National Cyber Security Authority. A world-leading expert on national cyber defence, Mr. Carmeli focused on how civilian cyber domains challenge traditional national policies and identified the building blocks that are crucial for a full-scale national cyber defence strategy. A subsequent panel discussion, featuring some of the industry’s most prominent thought leaders, went a long way towards facilitating greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing between Ireland and Israel, two of the most advanced tech hubs in the region.

Buky Carmeli, former Director-General of the Israeli National Cyber Security Authority

Irish critical national infrastructure vulnerable to cyber attack

The event could not have been better timed – just last week it was reported that a digital attack on a major player in Britain’s nuclear power industry had triggered a significant security crisis. The protection of critical national infrastructure is fast emerging as one of the most acute cyber challenges faced by Western governments and, arguably, nowhere in Europe is this becoming more keenly felt than in Ireland. One key reason for this is Ireland’s success in attracting the global multinationals and, in particular, the country’s status as the ‘Data Centre Capital of Europe’ – Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon all have major infrastructure investments here and the data centre industry generates billions to the Irish economy. This makes the Irish infrastructure on which these systems depend – electricity, water, communications, etc. – an obvious target for hostile actors seeking to disrupt the operations of the big tech multinationals.

An interesting talking point from the discussion was the contrast between Irish and Israeli military defence policies over the years and their implications for national cyber strategies. Another big difference is that Ireland has neither a significant military-industrial complex nor an integrated intelligence agency in the mold of MI6 or GCHQ. Whereas the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre is part of GCHQ and Israel’s National Cyber Security Authority is under the command of the Prime Minister’s Office – with enormous specialist resources at their disposal – the Irish equivalent agency is at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment.

L to R: Dr. Eoin Byrne (Cluster Manager, Cyber Ireland); Orli Weitzman (Deputy Ambassador of Israel to Ireland); Mattan Lass (Managing Director, Ireland Israel Business)

Ireland Israel Business celebrates a successful 2019

This event has capped an incredible year for Ireland Israel Business, which has established itself as the go-to address for Israeli companies considering Irish operations. We now offer Israeli clients an array of legal support, business development, trade promotion and community engagement within the Irish business space. In 2019, we saw:

  • DIY website platform Wix unveiled their new European HQ in Dublin’s Docklands;
  • Israeli engineering firm Meptagon acquired a Cork-based engineering contractor, growing its Irish workforce to over 400; and
  • El Al, Israel’s national airline, announced the first nonstop flights between Dublin and Tel Aviv to commence in May 2020.

It is clear that Brexit is proving a major opportunity for Ireland to attract high-value Israeli tech investment. Our regular showcase events are designed to highlight not only commercial opportunities in Ireland for Israeli companies but also what Ireland can offer Israeli companies that are searching for a new base within the EU.