In your opinion, what should cybersecurity place in today’s economic world?
Laurent Giovachini: This is a real survival issue because it is cybersecurity that allows you to control your data and your digital destiny. To be free to decide and act, private and public actors must be independent, including in the digital domain. That is why cybersecurity is today the essential foundation on which economic and digital sovereignty can be built, with the eventual ability to create world-class champions in Europe against GAFAM and BATX, as long as we choose sectors (Industry of the Future, Business to Government, etc.) where seats have not yet been filled.
In just a few years, cybersecurity has completely changed its image. Before, it was synonymous with embarrassment that had to be fulfilled. But for answering questions of protecting personal data and defending against cyber attacks, it is now of strategic value. From now on, the intrinsic quality of a software or digital service is nothing without the trust provided by cybersecurity. The period of crisis that we are going through has further reinforced the importance of this notion of trust.
Director of Cyber Security Sopra-Steria, Administrator of the Cyber Campus and Vice President of the Cyber Center of Excellence
And where are we with European sovereignty in terms of cyber defence?
LG: Companies in the knowledge industry need a European market, we have to break down barriers in this still very compartmentalized sector. For evaluations, audits or sales of software solutions, certifications are still national, with different standards from one country to another. This is sometimes for good reasons, but these regulations are preventing business development across the European market. Our competitors in the US or China have access to much larger markets. Their products are going global faster and 80% of our protection tools are non-European in origin. If we can remove these barriers, we will very quickly have European leaders of global stature.
Why so much delay in the Europeanization of cybersecurity?
LG: In cyber, there are issues of intelligence, cryptology and defense. Culturally, it is sometimes difficult to cooperate between nations, whether on a 27th scale or even on a smaller scale. In the cloud or in other digital sectors there are several “Important Projects of Common European Interest” (IPCEIs) carried out at EU level, but in cybernetics the initiatives are still essentially national. The Airbus of cybersecurity has yet to be imagined.
How can European sovereignty and French sovereignty cohabit?
LG: The two levels of sovereignty complement each other. The European Union is the right level to structure the market or to create common standards. But for industrial projects, probably only with 3 or 4 countries will we be able to succeed in creating cooperation in the cyber area. It is not, therefore, an opposition between ‘national’ and ‘European’, but a question of variable geometry, depending on the interests and maturity of the countries. Like GAIA-X in the cloud.
What is the role of La Défense Cyber Campus, which opened on February 15, in this cooperation strategy?
LG: The Cyber Campus will be the showcase of the French ecosystem. About 120 companies are full members and are part of the governance. The tower located in the heart of La Défense allows all players to expose their ideas, their products, their projects. It also has the originality of integrating the beneficiaries of cybersecurity solutions: around thirty OIVs (operators of vital importance) and OSEs (operators of essential services) are present to discuss with cyber partners. Like the bank insurance industry, which set up a working group to formulate needs and use cases that service providers can work on. Another very important aspect of Campus Cyber is the sharing of information about threats and their evolution. We find the State, public actors such as ANSSI, large groups, start-ups, academic research and users, gathered in the same place to cooperate. Eventually, the Cyber Campus will be able to accommodate over 1,200 people.
What tools facilitate cooperation between companies or with government departments?
LG: At Medef, for example, we have developed a network of correspondents in the regions, in collaboration with ANSSI and the General Direction of Companies of Bercy to raise awareness of companies about cyber attacks. At Numeum, the cyber commission also works for the general public. With video formats adapted to the young audience, we communicate about the use of social networks, the choice of passwords, the fight against information manipulation…