A cybersecurity forum to be held Aug. 20-21 will give 10-15 Israeli firms a chance to pitch their products to chief information officers from some of Atlanta’s top technology companies, reciprocating the warm welcome city leaders received on a trade mission to Israel earlier this year.
Led by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Mayor Kasim Reed in March, the trip showed Israel’s strong role in a technology sector that has a chance to be a “slam-dunk” industry for Georgia, says Justin Daniels, a corporate attorney in the Atlanta office of Baker Donelson LLP.
“Georgia really has the opportunity to be a top-shelf state not only domestically but internationally for cyber, but it’s up to us to tell the story,” Mr. Daniels told Global Atlanta.
Mr. Daniels helps lead the chamber’s Gateway program, which seeks to position Atlanta as the beachhead in the Americas for international technology companies. The committee believes that while Atlanta should maintain its strengths in wooing big foreign headquarters relocations, it should also extend a hand to smaller foreign tech firms with the potential for exponential growth.
Researching the initiative, the committee found that these firms need not only the space provided by incubators or the expertise offered by universities, but also the chance to get to know potential clients like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Once they have big customers here, the logic goes, they’ll be more likely to use Atlanta as a longer-term base of operations.
“We created a committee that acts like an Ellis Island to help international companies,” Mr. Daniels said. “Maybe they need space, but typically they wanted targeted introductions.”
Atlanta and Georgia have a lot to offer in cybersecurity, including two universities with degree programs in the field, major hubs in health IT and financial technology and a large concentration of Fortune 500 companies for which information security is growing in priority in the wake of highly publicized data breaches.
Potentially closer to the Israeli companies’ hearts: Augusta, Ga., is also home to the U.S. army’s cyber command and a National Security Agency facility.
During the March trade mission to Israel, Mr. Daniels was intrigued to see the high level of integration between Israel’s cybersecurity industry and the country’s military. In contrast to the U.S. system, many soldiers get their start in information security during stints in the military and start new companies upon completing their service.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” Mr. Daniels said of the trip to Israel. He noted that the group visited Ben Gurion University, where the new CyberSpark will become a nexus for academia, defense and the private sector players in cyber security.
The pitch sessions in Atlanta will be just one component of the two-day Cybersecurity Forum With Israel and the American South. It will also include sessions on defending the power grid, cybersecurity legislation, the role of state governments in cybersecurity, national security perspectives, case studies and much more.
Israel is one of two countries where the Metro Atlanta Chamber-led Gateway committee is now proving its concept. The other is India.
See the full agenda at http://cybercon.us.