Jean Larroumets, President, and co-founder EGERIE
If we imagine eco-friendly flying taxis deployed in the French sky during the 2024 Olympic Games, or the chance offered to all to access state-of-the-art medical care in the 2030 operating room combining robotics, augmented reality, 3D printing and artificial intelligence for minimally invasive surgery – digital transformation also reminds us that any strength represents a weakness, any solution can be a potential threat.
Digital is a tremendous asset that we must support and develop, providing it with an essential safety support, so that it delivers on all its promises.
Innovating to think and to build the world of tomorrow means that cybersecurity players, in turn, must innovate to ensure the security of these disruptive concepts that will pervade our daily lives in the very near future.
Innovation is driven by women and men. Innovating in cyber means investing in human capital as a priority.Training and preparing our talents for tomorrow is essential. It is an absolute necessity if we are to be able to meet the challenges we face and to chart the world in which we wish to live and pass on to future generations.
We need to educate young people, attract students, and to help them understand the world around them. These steps are crucial to inventing the world to come. Innovating requires you to project, challenge yourself, take risks and continually adapt. It is a state of mind above all that is cultivated and shared.
All these innovations will change our daily lives. And the change arouses as much interest as distrust. It is then our primary responsibility to bring transparent innovation. Innovative cybersecurity will be one of the pillars and guarantors of this trust that will promote acceptance and thus the adoption of new tools, new solutions and allow the development of new uses.
Cybersecurity is already entering the time of 5G networks, machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence and quantum computing. It must therefore be based on the strong ethical values shared in Europe, particularly regarding the use and protection of data, as these step-change technologies are adopted. On these issues, Europe is already very invested – and we need to capitalize on this vision and approach that sets us apart.
Humans remain at the forefront because it is up to them to think of innovative and ethical algorithms and to create and design the software for tomorrow. Tomorrow’s technology depends on what man will do with these tools. Ethics by design, ethical use and societal ethics must guide the cyber innovation of tomorrow.
In parallel with human capital, innovation – and particularly disruptive innovation – require investment in research and development. If we want to achieve our ambitions and make France a cybersecurity powerhouse and Europe a third way, then we must give ourselves the means to achieve this.
This funding must irrigate the network of SMEs that carry these capacities for innovation and agility at their heart needed to bring the ethical vision to life. We must also think of the cyber of tomorrow through the prism of both cooperation and co-creation. The French fabric is rich and dense but is perhaps too concentrated in places. We need to get closer to other companies, other countries, to co-innovate. Without it, we will end up suffocating ourselves among our peers in our “crowded isolation”.
The networking is obviously between start-ups, SMEs and large organizations or groups. Each represents a link in the chain that will enable us to achieve our collective goals. If our start-ups and SMEs carry innovation, they need the power and strength of large organizations or groups to scale up and address structuring markets.
The Cyber Campus, which is expected to be established as early as 2021 in France, is an opportunity of great value. With the aim of defining a new center of excellence for digital security and trust in France – and Europe – by bringing together start-ups, SMEs, cybersecurity and digital industries, state services, research laboratories, users, training providers, and venture capital, this project is timely.
While the National Campus could give rise to complementary initiatives in the region in order to capitalize on the strengths that France has in the local market, it will also reinforce the French ambition to strengthen Europe’s role and sovereignty in cybersecurity at global scale. It will concretely promote the sharing and emergence of innovative co-created solutions at all levels.
Israel, which, in the words of Its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aspires to become “the world leader in computer security”, has not hesitated to invest heavily in human capital, and to create the Cyber Net ecosystem that acts as a kind of “social network” connecting government agencies and private companies. Regulations are of course needed, but Israel intends to be flexible on this issue.
According to figures announced by the Israeli government, in the first half of 2019 alone, 40 Israeli computer security companies raised a total of $850 million in funding, compared to a total of $1.1 billion in 2018. Over the same period, they recorded seven company exits for a total of $1.5 billion.
The United States has spent more than $29 billion of its federal budget on Cyber. In Europe, this amount, calculated by combining the investments of each member country, is estimated at only 3 billion euros. The clear lack of investment in European cyber technologies is real, which undeniably hinders our capacity for innovation and therefore risks our sovereignty and strategic autonomy. It is clearly time to act and to take action to adapt to the reality of the digital revolution.
Digital technological innovation is a factor in wealth creation and enables the development of new solutions for sustainable development, a more collaborative economy and more inclusive models of society. Thus, cyber innovation in the service of trusted digital development could be an opportunity to make sense of a promising and promising future for us all !