Dublin-based consultancy services, Accenture, was pretty busty over the weekend, announcing a slew of announcements, largely coming in from Israel. The company announced ex-Deloitte & Touche executive, Kelly Bissell, as the new head of the company’s security business. It also announced that it is opening up a new cybersecurity R&D lab in Herzliy, in Israel. Two big announcements came in from Tel Aviv in Israel, where it acquired Maglan, a privately-held Israeli cybersecurity company; and joined The Floor — a new hub of local financial technology (fintech) startups.
Kelly Bissel: The new security head
Bissell brings more than 25 years of security industry experience to Accenture and specializes in breach incident response, identity management, privacy and data protection, secure software development and cyber risk management. In his new role, he will run Accenture’s security business, which spans strategic consulting, proactive risk management and digital identity to cyber defense, response and remediation services and managed security services – across all industries.
In taking up the new role, Bissel said, “Few companies can match the depth and breadth of Accenture’s security portfolio and its ability to tackle cyber risks strategically, design and execute what it recommends and run entire security operations on a global scale as Accenture does. I look forward to leading a talented team of security professionals and helping our clients around the globe build enterprise resilience to safeguard their businesses today and in the future.”
Kelly has held various leadership positions with Deloitte & Touche, Arthur Andersen, BellSouth (AT&T), Medaphis, and McKesson. During his career, he has served in almost every IT capacity from developer, network engineer, data center director, CISO, CTO and CIO.
Maglan: New shot in the arm
Maglan, the local acquisition by Accenture, specializes in offensive cyber simulation, vulnerability countermeasures, cyber forensics and malware defenses, and IT security research and development with a focus on threat intelligence.
The company did not disclose the financial terms of the deal. The capabilities of Maglan will also form the core of a future Accenture Cyber Fusion Center in Israel and support the parent company around the globe.
With this acquisition, Accenture has now made a total of the five investments in the cybersecurity space in the past several months. Earlier investments include the acquisition of acquisition of FusionX, a company with a 20-year cyber defense legacy; the acquisition of Cimation, an affiliate of Audubon Companies and an Industrial Internet of Things consulting company; a minority investment in Endgame Inc., a provider of cybersecurity software solutions; and a minority investment in Team8, a cybersecurity foundry.
Omar Abbosh, Chief Strategy Officer, Accenture, said, “Tackling the security problem from the perspective of the hacker is the name of the game. That’s why we are actively pioneering fundamentally differentiated approaches to cyber attack simulation, threat modeling, cyber investigations and security risk advisory services. With this acquisition, we are now able to further tailor services to our clients’ ever-changing security needs.”
Investing in R&D
Herzliya, Israel is the latest addition to Accenture’s global network of technology labs, which includes Silicon Valley, California; Arlington, Virginia; Sophia Antipolis, France; Dublin, Ireland; Beijing, China; and Bangalore, India. The Lab in Harzliya will focus on “unique” cybersecurity R&D projects in advanced threat intelligence, active defense and Industrial Internet of Things security “by applying the latest developments in artificial intelligence, blockchain and advanced analytics from across Accenture’s global network of labs and innovation centers.”
Lisa O’Connor, Managing Director, Accenture Labs – Security R&D, said, “The newest Lab will take advantage of our global footprint and ecosystem partners in cybersecurity to give clients unparalleled access to emerging, intelligence-driven threat identification solutions and post-attack remediation procedures.”
Joining The Floor
A local hub for fintech startups, The Floor was founded this year with support from institutions, including Banco Santander, HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo and RBS, and from Intel Corporation. It offers fintech entrepreneurs and startups a platform to collaborate with financial services institutions, technology companies and venture capitalists.
As a supporter of The Floor, Accenture will evaluate potential innovations for its clients and potentially its own strategic investments, while mentoring startups and strengthening its ties to the growing Israeli technology community.
“Over the past half-decade, fintech has become a major force of innovation in the financial services industry,” said Sushil Saluja, senior managing director of Financial Services in Europe, Latin America and Africa at Accenture.
“The origins of these innovations are bound less by geography than by the growing wealth of ideas to reinvent financial services in the digital age. Israel has long been a leader in technology and is a growing contributor to the global fintech community. We are pleased to be part of this program.”
According to an official release from Accenture, fintech investment in Israel has grown dramatically in recent years — with the number of fintech ventures growing from 90 in 2002 to approximately 430 today.
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