Innovative hackers keep Israeli tech giant CyberArk on its toes

Founded in 1999 when other technology companies focused on developing firewalls and other technologies to keep attackers out, CyberArk focused on protecting sensitive organizational data and assets.

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January 30, 2019 18:18
2 minute read.
CyberArk CEO

CyberArk CEO Udi Mokady. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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When it comes to protecting critical infrastructure, financial institutions and industries such as retail and manufacturing from hacking attempts, maintaining an organization’s cybersecurity status quo is simply not an option.

The combination of attackers – whether criminals or nation states – innovating relentlessly, together with the ever-changing technology stack of customers across all industries, is permanently keeping the world’s businesses and cybersecurity officials on their toes.

“These two forces require us to continuously innovate and make sure we keep up and even stay ahead of the adoption of new digital transformation technologies by our customers,” CyberArk CEO Udi Mokady told The Jerusalem Post after speaking at the Cybertech TLV 2019 conference.

“In the early years, financial services were the first to understand the importance of protecting the keys to the IT [information technology] kingdom, but we have seen a large shift in diversity of industries – every segment can be a target. Every industry has something to protect – and they have all been targeted as they have something worth stealing.”

Founded in 1999 when other technology companies focused on developing firewalls and other technologies to keep attackers out, CyberArk focused on protecting sensitive data and assets inside the organization.

Two decades later, the Petah Tikva-based company has become Israel’s second largest cybersecurity firm worldwide, providing security to more than 4,200 customers – including half of the Fortune 500. Listed on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange since 2014, CyberArk is worth approximately $2.8 billion today.

The emergence of cloud computing and new development methodology DevOps (software Development combined with information technology Operations) are among digital transformations introducing new risks for customers, as they seek to increase their online presence, Mokady explained.


Staying one step ahead of the hackers led CyberArk to acquire Boston-based Conjur in March 2017 to better secure DevOps processes, and Vaultive in March 2018 to strengthen its cloud security capabilities.

“We also have this whole group called the CyberArk labs, whose members have a dream job, as their output doesn’t have to be products, but rather to research the most advanced attacks,” said Mokady.

“They use their experience from IDF cyber units to understand what attackers are doing, and what can impact our customers. They think of ways to organically innovate and later turn that into products, or where we need to partner to address those threats.”

Recognizing CyberArk’s industry-leading role in providing critical security controls, the company was recognized last month as a “leader” in the prestigious Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant for Privileged Access Management.

While the company’s growth has led Mokady to relocate to Massachusetts – the site of the company’s US headquarters – he is adamant that CyberArk’s global success is the fulfillment of Zionist ideology.

“Often, the innovators don’t get to lead the market, but CyberArk did pioneer this space and it’s a major achievement for us,” he said.
“We have to sit in the target market – but walk into our US office and you will see both the US and Israeli flag – there is no contradiction. You can be very proud of how and where you started, and continuously leverage Israel’s innovation culture and directness – but take it into the world, embrace other cultures and hire local teams.”

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