Everything is questionable

Amelia Hernandez

14 November 2014

There are two types of companies, those that have been hacked and those that will be.
– Avi Biran

In 2015 cyber crimes will account for approximately 800 Billion dollars, which is equal to GDP of Holland, one of the world’s richest nations.

No one is safe.

Avi Biran has set out to change that. He founded the Israel Defense Force’s Technological Research and Development Branch, out of which have come most of Israel’s hottest tech entrepreneurs, including @waze founder Uri Levine.

Biran is dedicated to educating entrepreneurs while keeping us safe. Today he came to our weekly #TcDesayunos to share his philosophy and advice as we learn to deal with today’s information overload and cyber security.

It all began with a first question.

When Avi Biran joined the Israel Defense Force, he was assigned a specific challenge and had 2 months to find the best answer. After a few days of studying the problem and thinking out of the box, he began to envision a solution that has become one of his unit’s trademark solutions – and the breeding ground for Israel’s top start up companies.

Biran’s approach is defiant, skeptical, inquisitive, experimental and decidedly non-conformist. “Everything is questionable”, says Biran, who tries to instill these values in the youth he mentors. “Don’t take anything for granted. Always ask why” he teaches.

How has such a small Army unit been able to have such a large global impact? By incorporating education at its core. If Israel was to count on the best talent they had to make sure the conditions were right, starting from early education. What began as an experimental department has now become a national initiative, having produced over 25,000 alumni since 1999.

The program’s success is directly attributed to the informal ecosystem that Biran has built. “To be a part of innovation one must be social, motivated, creative and committed to reaching their goal.” Biran’s formula has 3 pillars: People, Process and context. In order to foster innovation you need the right people, a specific process anda target to unify everyone. He quickly realized, however that the survival of great companies depended on more than having the right talent.

Of course the most important part of a company is the people, but if your data is stolen, if could ruin the company.

Information explosion

Cyber Odysseys was born out of the need to educate people on the importance of cyber safety, and of course, to protect our data. Companies are experiencing an information overload, and as a result many ignore important alarms and warnings (think back to the Target internet security breach of 2013 that compromised 70 million customers).

Cyber security is an issue that affects us all. Spain is no exception. In fact, Biran has found that most Spanish organizations don’t perceive the threat but it’s only a matter of time. Companies that begin to safeguard their information are those that will survive; they offer a unique positioning and will be the first who are able to expand to the US market.

Why should I hack something if the window is open?

Most hackers can access our data effortlessly. It is imperative that we begin to address issues of security and discuss it openly. “Those who will survive are not the most intelligent, but rather the most responsive to change.”