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Accenture looks to Israel to boost cyber security


(Reuters) — Seeking to shore up the cyber security services it provides to customers, Accenture P.L.C has acquired an Israeli company and is establishing a research and development center in the country.

Israeli cyber security firms, many of which have their roots in the military, have attracted growing foreign investment over the past few years, raising a record $540 million in 2015.

Accenture, a professional services firm whose competitors include IBM and India's Infosys, did not disclose financial details of its acquisition of Tel Aviv-based Maglan, which provides cyber forensics and simulation services, malware defense and research on intelligence threats.

It employs about 30 people, who "are extremely expert ... from Israel's military and intelligence complex," Omar Abbosh, Accenture's chief strategy officer, told Reuters on the sidelines of a cyber conference at Tel Aviv University on Monday.

Abbosh said the company spent about $1 billion acquiring some 20 companies in fiscal 2015 and a similar amount in fiscal 2016, which ends in August.

"You can use that to work out a typical deal size," he said.

Maglan will help Accenture tailor services to clients' needs as the growing variety of cyber attacks today cannot be eliminated with standard off-the-shelf solutions, Abbosh said.

Maglan's clients include financial services, telecom and automotive companies.

Accenture's new R&D centre will focus on industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and active defense, which uses artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to see an anomaly before an attack has happened.

"They are working on research we expect to apply within a three-year time frame," he said.

Accenture is also collaborating with Team8, an Israeli firm that creates cyber security companies. In February, Accenture, which is incorporated in Ireland, participated in a $23 million funding round for Team8.

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