TECH TALK: Acronis’s new Israel R&D center embodies cyber’s COVID defianc | #itsecurity | #infosec

As you’ve probably heard, 2020 was an outstanding year for Israel’s cyber sector. This year, too, the sector raised over $1.5 billion in funding in the first quarter alone, which is more than half of 2020’s record-breaking $2.9b. total, according to a report by the INCD.
As a sign of the times, Acronis, a global leader in end-to-end cyber protection solutions, will open a new R&D center in Israel, already investing NIS 260 million. Acronis plans to recruit more than 100 cybersecurity professionals for its new office to stand at the forefront of developing Acronis’s cyber solutions.
“Acronis’s strategic move into Israel reflects the fact this region will play a major role in our future success and expansion of our integrated cyber protection services. We have tremendous trust in the talent of the Israeli hi-tech industry,” said Shachar Rabbe, CFO of Acronis.
When COVID-19 first hit, many analysts across the globe feared that the hi-tech sector would be severely hurt due to a vulnerable economy and restricted air travel. Yet throughout the pandemic, it became clear just how valuable the cyber sector is. As more and more companies moved online and allowed their employees to work remotely, an opening was created for hackers.
A growing dependence on networked technologies and the soaring outsourcing of computer systems to cloud-based companies contributed to the rise in hacking in the past year. A whopping 30 billion data records were stolen in 2020, according to Canalys, a tech-market firm, more records than in the previous 15 years put together. The most notable cyberattack in 2020 was on SolarWinds, which left US corporations and governments reeling.

Israeli cybersecurity companies are accustomed to dealing with security threats and routinely block a high number of attacks. Israel was the most attacked country in the world in the third quarter of 2020, with 180,000 attempts, according to an F5 Networks report. With threats like this, it’s no surprise that Israel is a leading country in cybersecurity innovation. In fact, Israel’s exports of cyber technologies amount to about $10b. a year, more than all classic defense exports combined. Five cyber unicorns were born in 2020, among them SentilOne and Snyk. Despite the unpredictability surrounding the pandemic, 20 new cybersecurity start-ups were founded last year.
International companies have always had their eye on Israel’s cyber community. Around 41% of the world’s cyber investments are made in Israel, which is home to over 400 active cybersecurity companies.
Anyone who drives through Israel will see buildings that belong to international companies such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, eBay, IBM, and Cisco. These tech giants all have R&D centers in Israel that focus on cybersecurity. The latest major international company to open an R&D center in Israel is Acronis, which has more than 1,600 employees and 14 R&D centers worldwide.
Acronis may not be a household name, but it has about 50,000 global business partners, 5.5 million end customers and 500,000 businesses who use its product daily. The Swiss-based company has recently raised $250m. in a funding round led by CVC Capital Partners, which put the company’s value at $2.5b. Acronis’s brand new office in Herzliya is one more validation of Israel’s booming cybersecurity scene.
“Acronis will invest over $80m. into the cybersecurity expertise center in Israel over the next five years,” Rabbe added. “Our team in Israel will now be at the heart of that revolution, as we provide partners and customers with a single solution that covers all five stages of their protection: prevention, detection, response, recovery and forensics.”

Following Acronis’s major move, we can expect to see even more international companies expanding into Israel. 

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