Breaking barriers: The Indo-Israeli cybersecurity alliance

Cybersecurity can progressively stand out as economic and political cornerstones of a vital partnership between two natural allies; Israel and India. Israeli cybersecurity firms, ranging from major product-based companies to start-ups, have focused primarily on markets in North America and Europe. However, in January 1992, Israel acquired diplomatic partnerships with a major Asian giant that considerably influences the present-day international system: India.

22 years since this accomplishment, Israeli cybersecurity vendors have increasingly looked at the Indian market’s tremendous potential for economic rewards, and this gradually accentuates cybersecurity as an element of the ever-growing Indo-Israeli alliance. The United States, Canada, and major European countries undeniably provide a vast market for Israeli cybersecurity firms to grow at an exponential rate. However, monumental growth of the Indian cyberspace gives Israeli cybersecurity firms with cutting edge technologies the chance to partner with Indian cybersecurity companies. But why would an Israeli cybersecurity enterprise with ample resources navigate the Indian market through a cross-border partnership with an Indian cybersecurity firm?

Cultural and political barriers indeed make the Indo-Israeli relationship complex, but the 200-million USD worth cybersecurity-market in India is a lucrative trade opportunity. Retailing an innovative Israeli technology to leading Indian corporations and the government is a circuitous process. The phobia of utilizing foreign cybersecurity technologies has substantially magnified following revelations made by whistle-blowers on efforts dedicated to collection of technical intelligence by formidable agencies such as the NSA. Due to the possible presence of backdoors, technological flaws, and other vulnerabilities; no nation would entirely entrust protection of its cyberspace to foreign cybersecurity enterprises. In this sense, a “security barrier” exists due to the skeptical mindset of India’s leading decision-makers in both the public and private sectors.

To overcome such a mental-hurdle dominating India’s leading public and private decision-makers; an Israeli firm possessing a unique cybersecurity technology would have to partner with an Indian cybersecurity company that has established credentials as a provider of security solutions to the governmental/corporate sector. Cross-border partnerships with Indian firms would enable the necessary technological collaboration required in order to adapt, or localize, the concerned Israeli cybersecurity product. Joint-product development offers the greatest potential for Israeli enterprises to reap long-term benefits from the Indian market, and break the existing “security barrier”.

Israeli cybersecurity companies including start-ups are often listed as North American/European enterprises to gain access to diverse markets, including the Middle East. Political, economic, and social elements obstruct Israeli businesses from penetrating attractive markets in the Arab world and beyond. By contrast, Indian enterprises have succeeded in establishing a solid base in countries where the conduct of commercial activities with Israeli firms would be an explosive issue. Partnering with Indian cybersecurity firms allows Israeli counterparts with the ideal platform to transcend existing barriers in diverse markets.

Trust and credibility are integral elements of strategic security partnerships, and Israeli cybersecurity vendors teaming up with leading Indian cybersecurity companies have immense potential to form win-win relationships. In spite of the complex political and cultural elements surrounding the Indo-Israeli relationship; stronger intent, and subsequent action, will help cybersecurity emerge as a noteworthy field alongside agriculture, homeland security, and others. Through cybersecurity, the Indo-Israeli relationship could garner significant momentum to overcome obstacles, and strengthen collaboration between two great nations.

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About the Author
Vishal D. Dharmadhikari is the Founder and CEO of India Cyber Connect – a firm promoting high-impact activities in the field of cybersecurity through cross-border partnerships. He is also the concept-initiator of “India-Israel Cybersecurity Connect” – a business event that featured as part of Israel’s largest cybersecurity conference, and successfully promoted cybersecurity cooperation between India and Israel.
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