“Cybersecurity is at the heart of digitalization”, comments Shira Kaplan, Founder of Cyverse AG. She has transformed her company into a leading supplier of data security solutions. Since being founded five years ago, Shira Kaplan has been working from her base in the Greater Zurich Area to support companies located throughout Europe in their efforts to protect data. Moreover, her firm’s solutions are in greater demand than ever before following the coronavirus crisis. To this end, Cyverse relies on the cooperation between Israel and Switzerland in terms of technology. This strengthens the innovation landscape of the Greater Zurich Area, which features a mix of traditional companies and high-tech enterprises, placing the region at the forefront of data security in the process.
Trust based on stable landscape and legal security
With Cyverse, Shira Kaplan forms part of a dynamic ecosystem with hubs in Schaffhausen, among other areas, where the IT security giant Acronis is headquartered, and in Zurich, where Google's largest research location outside the USA is working on data protection issues, to name but one aspect. The leading cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has also opted to base its transparency initiative around Zurich.
There can be no doubt about it: alongside Israel and the USA, Switzerland has assumed a pioneering role in the field of data security. Shira Kaplan believes that this can be attributed to the fact that companies located in Greater Zurich are so open to collaborations. In this regard, she is able to bring together an international mix of talents and also benefits from the region's reputation in the areas of trust, security and privacy. Access to data without judicial control is not permitted in Switzerland. This is in direct contrast to the USA, where this is facilitated for companies by way of the Patriot Act. Despite this, rather than being slowed down by excessive regulation, innovative cybersecurity technologies are thriving in Switzerland.
Competence and working culture complement each other perfectly
For David Gugelmann, CEO and Founder of the data security firm Exeon, the positive reputation and trust enjoyed by the Greater Zurich Area is again an important basis for his company’s business model. Exeon, which was established as a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), offers a data protection alarm system in the form of its “ExeonTrace” solution. David Gugelmann is of the view that his company’s proximity to ETH as well as other universities is a key factor: “Zurich is home to engineers who have received a world class education”, he comments. In some aspects, Gugelmann even prefers Greater Zurich over Silicon Valley. His appreciation of the local working culture and employee loyalty is ultimately based on his own professional experiences.
Large corporates such as SIX, the infrastructure operator for the Swiss financial sector, have long since discovered the region’s potential in the context of data security. Michael Boppel, Head of Cyber Security Services at SIX, explains: “Since assuming the mantle for offering new and innovative services for the Swiss financial sector, including in the area of data security, we have benefited greatly from the cybersecurity ecosystem”. The company is also actively involved in promoting this ecosystem. This can, for example, be seen within the framework of the F10 FinTech incubator: here, start-ups are supported in their efforts to move beyond the prototype stage towards creating a saleable product and put in contact with large firms. It is dynamics such as these that above all make it possible for local start-ups to develop into key international players.
by Smilla Diener
(Image credit for header: Luca Bravo)