Time for the regional cooperation

In times when cooperation is needed to address the emerging cybersecurity threat landscape, European initiatives contribute to stimulating synergies among the ‘European Cybersecurity Valleys’. As such, Interreg Europe CYBER initiative aims to connect the regional public entities through the same objective of boosting their local SMEs competitiveness. CYBER recognizes interregional cooperation as significant to identify solutions and move towards a more integrated cybersecurity market.

Introducing local cyber security ecosystems

The kick-off meeting of CYBER took place on 3-4 July 2018 in Rennes, France, and was hosted by Bretagne Development Innovation (BDI), the Lead Partner for CYBER and the Regional Council of Brittany. Various European regions have been represented, including Tuscany (IT), Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Wallonia (BE) and Castilla y León (ES).

This first meeting gave a chance to introduce to each another local environments and exchange on the common sector-related barriers, such as lack of coordination between relevant actors, lack of skills and market fragmentation. For instance, Brittany Region shared with the Partners its success story of how it managed to cope with the regional market fragmentation and achieve a more synergic market. As a result, Brittany holds now a key role in the French cybersecurity value chain by hosting more than 130 companies. From a regional perspective, they emphasized that enhancing the cybersecurity market would contribute to boosting SMEs, which employ 80% of cybersecurity workforce at the local level.

Interregional exchange

Regional Partners shared the results of the interviews conducted with their local SMEs, in order to have an overview of the main common factors influencing their competitiveness. They were also asked to answer the leading question part of the PESTEL analysis - that is ‘What are the main external factors influencing a regional cybersecurity innovation ecosystem?’. Through this joint exercise, partners started designing a common view on the main features of an efficient cybersecurity innovation ecosystem as a key factor to improve SMEs competitiveness. 

As an Advisory Partner, the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) provides guidance to CYBER on the implementation of a multi-layered approach to structure competitive ecosystems. In Rennes, it was the opportunity for ECSO to give a definition of a cybersecurity innovation ecosystem in the context of competitive global ecosystems (i.e. US and Israel business models). Partners reflected on the characteristics of a potential efficient European ecosystem, not only in terms of R&I but also in terms of an improved access to the market.

Getting to know local SMEs, exchanging best regional practices

The Regional Partners had a great occasion to visit local SMEs offering a wide range of innovative cybersecurity solutions. SMEs representatives were invited to exchange their views and share their knowledge about local cybersecurity ecosystems and best practices. This enabled Partners to collect the information on the main driving and restraining factors affecting the competitiveness of cybersecurity SMEs.

Partners visited the following SMEs:

  •   SERMA
  •   SEKOIA

Continuous cooperation and information exchange

The first meeting on CYBER was a great experience to create dynamics among the group and identify each of the participating regions. As the main outcome, Partners brought back to their regions feedbacks from other European cybersecurity ecosystems, recommendations on best practices, and the consideration that all are confronted to the same market barriers. The recognition of the common goals and the cooperative spirit of the group has set up a very promising work environment for the implementation of CYBER.

The next meeting hosted by the Estonian Information System Authority, which represents Estonia in CYBER, is going to take place in December. Exciting discussions are foreseen to continue analysing territorial needs, exchanging good practices and keeping the Action Plan well on track.