The government of Israel has announced a $24 million USD program dedicated to supporting cybersecurity initiatives.

The Israel Innovation Authority, in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy and Industry, and the National Cyber Directorate have designed a three-pronged program consisting of investing in startups, supporting larger companies making strides in new security technologies, and supplying resources to the CyberSpark innovation center in Beersheba.

The funds are dedicated to accelerating the discovery of new, disruptive security technologies by funding companies that deal with risky research and development efforts. Startups will be eligible to receive funding to cover up to 66% of R&D expenses, a maximum of $1.35 million USD per year.

Companies can also apply for government funds to cover technology pilot programs and beta testing within the country and abroad. An in-country pilot program could receive 30% financing, and while international tests may receive up to 50% government funding.

These efforts are intended to strengthen Israel’s place in the global cybersecurity market. The program will also help startups access information and expertise that may not otherwise be available to them.

The National Cyber Directorate and the Israel Innovation Authority will partner to promote ‘innovation arenas’ in industries that are particularly vulnerable to cyber threats, including healthcare and finance.

Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen said that the program will ensure Israel’s position as the innovation leader in the cybersecurity industry and “bolster Israel’s global leadership in this critical industry.”

Despite the availability of funds from private investors and venture capitalists, it can be difficult for cyber companies to support research and development efforts, and to find appropriate ways to test new technologies. According to Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority, “This new program solves this issue and will significantly accelerate companies’ growth and penetration into the global market.”

At a presentation at Columbia University last year, Dr Eviatar Matania, director general of Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, said that the evolution of technology in the hands of malicious actors, and changes in enterprise technology such as increased adoption of IoT, makes cybersecurity an area of global concern.

“We haven’t yet solved the problem of reconciling the organizational and national level,” he said. “The next step would need to address what we need to do globally.” He also noted that government collaboration with private companies is important to support technological advancement.