The Dynamics and Geography of the Cybersecurity Industry

Dr. Tali Hatuka, Department of Geography and Human Environment, Tel Aviv University;

Prof. Erran Carmel, Information Technology Department, Kogod School of Business, American University, Washington DC, USA;


Cybersecurity is now a global industry and has solidified three of its largest geographic ecosystems in Israel, Silicon Valley/ San Francisco, and in metropolitan Washington D.C. Understanding regional ecosystems (clusters) as areas of innovation emerged in the 1990s when Harvard’s Michael Porter popularized the concept and Silicon Valley began to be celebrated. All firms in the cluster benefit from being near sources of information, to human capital, to venture capital, and to key buyers.  The three cybersecurity clusters each have hundreds of firms in cybersecurity products and services. Using the Cybersecurity500 as a proxy of influence -- 24% of the important firms are in Silicon Valley, 10% are in Washington, and 8% are in Israel. 


We are not aware of any academic studies that have taken an in-depth look at the cybersecurity industry nor at its major clusters. Thus, this study will be a first.  Our research goals are:  First to assess and analyze the emergence and development of the cybersecurity industry, how this industry developed, where, and why it looks as it does today. We will present an historical analysis paying close attention to location decisions.  Sources include interviews and secondary literature. Second, to map the geographical spread of the cybersecurity industry using Geographic Information Systems. We will map cybersecurity firms in each cluster in the spatial context, to develop the geography and ecosystem scale; and map the firms spread over time. Third, to analyze the role of key stakeholders in developing the industry using network analysis tools. This will include overlaying additional parameters (e.g., size, investments) to create multivariate clustering per firm.  Fourth to analyze the spatial and planning features of the cybersecurity industry. This includes an assessment of the built environment, infrastructure, and physical conditions. Finally, we plan to develop a framework for policymakers.   

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