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Landmark UK-Israeli agreement to boost mutual cybersecurity development, tackle shared threats

News Analysis
Mar 22, 20235 mins
Advanced Persistent ThreatsCybercrimeGovernment

The 2030 Roadmap for Israel-UK Bilateral Relations promises ongoing cooperation in tackling cyberthreats, governing global cyberspace, developing cybersecurity skills, and investing in the cybersecurity ecosystem.

The UK and Israeli governments have signed a landmark agreement to define bilateral relations between the two countries and boost mutual cybersecurity advancement until 2030. The 2030 Roadmap for Israel-UK Bilateral Relations is the culmination of efforts that began with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2021 to work more closely over the next decade on security, technology, trade, and defense.

The Roadmap seeks to ensure the partnership remains modern and continues to evolve to address shared challenges, promising ongoing cooperation in tackling cyberthreats, governing global cyberspace, developing cybersecurity skills, and investing in the shared cybersecurity ecosystem. New multi-million-pound programs announced in the Roadmap, including joint commitments in areas such as technology, innovation, research and development in national security aim to enable both countries to remain at the forefront of the technological revolution.

UK-Israeli cooperating key to tacking global cyberthreats

Cooperation between Israel and the UK is vital to tackling increasing threats in cyberspace and counter efforts by malign forces, the Roadmap states. “We commit to further strengthen our already deep cooperation on cyber to promote international security and stability in cyberspace, including through bilateral cooperation on critical national infrastructure and collective efforts to increase our mutual resilience against cyberthreats.” As cybersecurity becomes increasingly important to the global economy, operating models and standards hold the key to safeguarding prosperity and enabling growth across the public and private sectors, the Roadmap says. “Israel and the UK recognize and appreciate the importance of mutual cooperation on cybersecurity and resilience, with the UK recently elevating Israel to a ‘tier 1’ cyber partner and unlocking the potential for further cooperation.”

UK-Israeli agreement to prioritize cybersecurity skills, ecosystem investment

In addition to countering cyberthreats, Israel and the UK are committed to maximizing the opportunities that cyber presents through greater prioritization of cyber skills, along with committing to an annual high-level dialogue on cybersecurity and resilience and working towards a more closely aligned vision on the global governance of cyberspace.

They also want to improve the prosperity of the shared cybersecurity ecosystem, prioritizing increased links between Israeli startups and the UK sector. This includes promoting the Golden Valley development in Gloucestershire – a DIT high potential opportunity program with Israeli investment and direct collaboration – working towards the creation of a cyber central hub in Be’er Sheva. Furthermore, the two nations will continue to link female Israeli cybersecurity entrepreneurs with UK investors and partners through the CybHER competition as an annual event.

Agreement symbols importance of international cybersecurity collaboration

Israel plays a central part of the global cyber eco-system and is a longstanding, like-minded and highly capable partner to the UK, Lindy Cameron, CEO of the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said in 2021. “Israel is a cyber nation. You don’t have to dive too deep into the Israeli cyber eco-system to find inspiration,” Cameron added. “So much of what any country achieves in cybersecurity depends on its work with international allies, and this is certainly true of both the UK and Israel.”

Given the well-regarded and innovative cybersecurity posture of both the UK and Israel, the new agreement looks set to deliver several important benefits to the cybersecurity sectors of both nations.

“This agreement will continue to create a highly collaborative environment for Israeli and UK companies to work together, share skill sets, and become more creative when fighting today’s cyberthreats,” Shlomo Kramer, founder of Israeli cybersecurity firm Cato Networks, tells CSO. The sharing of talent will be one of the key factors in helping the two countries stay ahead of technological innovation, and both countries benefit tremendously from skilled ex-military personnel with transferable skills well-suited to the cybersecurity sector, he says. “Utilizing the resources that both countries have in terms of innovation and talent means as a joint force we can better defend ourselves from the ever-changing threat landscape, creating more advanced tools that will make it harder for the cyber underworld to keep attacking.”

Cybersecurity startups create a significant amount of innovation in the space and having such a tight relationship will allow easier access for enterprises in both nations to the latest technologies, Aviv Grafi, CTO of Votiro, tells CSO. “As for global cyber governance, the usage of cyber espionage tools will likely be further regulated as the political environment changes and private companies offer such tools. It’s likely we’ll see tighter governance and export controls in place.”

In Israel, cyber skills are taught from the age of nine, where programming and network security got their way into the official education system, he adds. “In addition, security professionals are being trained as part of the mandatory army service, which creates a significant supply of cyber skills that can potentially support UK demand for security professionals.”

The Roadmap signals a continuation of joint co-operation between the two countries on cybersecurity which has seen more than 400 Israeli tech firms operating in the UK become established over the past couple of decades, says Simon Chassar, CRO at Claroty. “Israeli investment into the UK drives growth and jobs, adding around £1 billion gross value to the UK economy and creating about 16,000 jobs in the last eight years. I and many of my team are part of one of those 16,000 as we have Israeli technology origins to our established global New York HQ Corporation, which operates across 56 countries.”

With the evolution of society and its evolving inter-connectivity between humans, physical, and technology, more and more “things” are being connected, he adds. “Extrapolate this example to industry sectors like energy, defense, food, medicines, or healthcare and you have a serious society impact. Therefore, the collaboration is not only critical for cyber defense but also critical to the UK society and UK critical infrastructure, as well as creating jobs and accelerating digital innovation within the UK.”

UK Editor

Michael Hill is the UK editor of CSO Online. He has spent the past 8 years covering various aspects of the cybersecurity industry, with particular interest in the ever-evolving role of the human-related elements of information security. A keen storyteller with a passion for the publishing process, he enjoys working creatively to produce media that has the biggest possible impact on the audience.

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