The Global Cyberwar is the topic to open the newest Forbes Israel 30Under30 podcast series. In the first chapter, Noa Oron is hosting Yevgeny Dibrov, founder and CEO of Armis Security and a 2018 Forbes 30/30 graduate. Armis specializes in mapping and protecting devices & assets in organizations (OT, IT) and on the cloud, and provides solutions to new cyber threats. The company, which managed to raise $ 600 million so far, has tripled in value in the last two years and is now estimated at $ 3.5 billion.
However, it is not the first time Dibrov has known success – he was one of Adallom‘s first employees, a cyber company that was sold to Microsoft for $ 320 million in 2015.
After founding Armis in 2015, about a month after Adallom‘s exit, Dibrov moved to the US to be closer to customers. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, in-person meetings were no longer possible. Dibrov took the opportunity to return to Israel and be close to his family and his fiancée Sarin. Ever since he spends his time between Israel and the US.
Dibrov, 33, immigrated to Israel from Ukraine with his parents when he was 4 years old, and barely any belongings. Adapting to the new country was very difficult. His parents invested a lot in his education and taught him that hard work brings success. Today, he strives to instill the same values in his own family.
Dibrov explains that a fundamental change has begun during the pandemic, especially in the cyber security field and in critical infrastructures such as hospitals. “Attacks on the organizations and companies around the world have increased significantly,” he says. “Hospitals are being attacked more than ever and the need for security has increased accordingly. As a result, we have continued to grow rapidly.
Today, we are protecting over 40 companies out of the world’s 100 largest organizations, and the biggest hospitals in the US. We need to understand that the amount of challenges is increasing and we are learning how to deal with it over and over again”.
In today’s market, there are endless security solutions. What sets Armis’ product apart from others?
“There is definitely an increasing competition, and we are likely to see a market trend that will lead to the disappearance of niche companies,” says Dibrov. “Our competitors are mainly niche companies that cover small areas of services. Armis’ vision is to create the ‘Google Maps’ from which it will manage the entire system – an ability to foresee and control each and every device and its asset, along with layers of weak spots and protection management. Most of our competitors cover specific areas such as critical infrastructure only, but today, an organization wants one solution to work for an entire system”.
The importance of cyber solutions has increased in recent years, as more systems in an organization are connected. What are the vulnerabilities and weaknesses you identify in such organizations?
“Attackers exploit the weakest points of an organization. When you look at an enterprise environment, you see on the one hand the laptops on which classic antivirus can be installed, and on the other hand, 90% of enterprise assets, ranging from security cameras to MRIs, are defenseless because they operate through old operating systems and hackers are taking advantage of it. The gap is constantly growing in these areas and we are coming up with a new approach – mapping the assets, monitoring activity, and identifying in real-time whether the same device is doing something it is not meant to.”
Dibrov, who began his career in cyber at a young age, and was selected as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, says that being young is both an advantage and a challenge. “At Adallom, I served as VP of Business Development when I was only 24, a position with a lot of responsibilities. Once you prove yourself and continue to work hard – success will come” he says. “I always raise the bar and strive for excellence. I learn from everyone along the way and believe that if I keep learning I can continue to progress and be the best at what I do”.
What tips can you give to anyone planning to start a company these days?
“There are some important pointers, but the most important thing is choosing your partners. These are the people who will be with you for better or for worse. It is a roller coaster with lots of lows. You will need someone that will make you stronger and strive to win together. The other tip is to learn the field. Talk to prospects and hear what their problems are and what they will be willing to pay.
“In addition, be prepared for criticism and to listen, and to make changes to the product and the strategy. Even after a few months, there can be changes and you should not shy away from them. It is very important to know how to adapt to the challenges along the way.”