Cybersecurity: Gatineau, ready for the next step

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Cybersé ;: Gatineau, ready for the next stage

Gatineau wants to become an international cybersecurity hub.

In-Sec-M, the Canadian cybersecurity industry cluster, has been established in Gatineau for more than five years and its founder, Antoine Normand, is ready for the next step: becoming an innovation hub. internationally.

“The playing field is international and there is a whole industry to hatch that is being set up now”, firmly believes the president -general manager of the firm BlueBear and president of In-Sec-M.

The first part of our dossier on the growth of the cybersecurity industry in Gatineau< /p>

Antoine Normand, CEO of BlueBear and founder of In-Sec-M

A vision shared by Luigi Rebuffi, co-founder of the European Cybersecurity Organization (ECSO), based in Brussels, Belgium.

Although cybersecurity affects critical infrastructures where States try as much as possible to preserve their sovereignty, “Canada is an ally of Europe, of European countries, so I think there are no big difficulties in seen to have cooperation on sensitive matters”.

In cybersecurity, there is no question of going it alone, adds the one who provides the bridge between public institutions and the European cybersecurity industry: “Europe wants to be less dependent, but we cannot be completely independent”, continues- he says, “because cybersecurity is going too fast, because you need a lot of investment, so you have to find cooperation with different countries”.

A European Commission building in Belgium

Met in a tower in the European district of Brussels, the head of cybersecurity and digital privacy policies for the European Commission, Christiane Kirketerp de Viron, is also encouraging.

“For areas as sensitive as national security, there may be rules excluding foreign companies in some [European Union] member countries. On the other hand, we can do much more together for education and training issues, which are very important for the industry. »

Not far from the European district, at the general delegation of Quebec in Brussels, an economic team is responsible for promoting international partnerships.

“Just here, in Europe, for cybersecurity, we are talking about a business market of 150 billion euros in 2023”, explains Geneviève Brisson, General Delegate of Quebec in Brussels.

This represents a market full of opportunity, but a competitive market with thousands of companies of all sizes. The particularity of Quebec, according to her, is the relationship of trust between Europe and Quebec, whose general delegation celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022.

Geneviève Brisson, Delegate General of Quebec in Brussels

“Indeed, we won't be able to knock on all the doors, but we rake, we do targeted research to make sure we support our companies in the best places and where it is profitable, as quickly as possible, to forge links”, adds the general delegate.

An opinion shared by European decision-makers.

“We see Canada as the most European country in the world outside of Europe! »

— Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for Competition and Digital

For the one who leads the project called A Europe adapted to the digital age, the current geopolitical context, with the war in Ukraine, is conducive to increasing the number of partnerships between allies, because “if a discussion on a global scale must continue to exist, Europe, Canada, the United States, Friends of Australia, Japan and Korea are currently forming a strong coalition” on digital issues.

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 dlqbmr">European Commission Executive Vice-President for Competition and Digital Affairs, Margrethe Vestager, in interview with journalist Nicolas Pelletier

Not only does the cybersecurity community in the Outaouais welcome the desire to multiply international partnerships, but for companies established in Gatineau, such as the RHEA Group, “it is not enough to have a beautiful logo, a mailbox and engineers in an office: we must bring added value to Quebec's strategic plans, particularly in terms of cybersecurity and innovation,” says Pascal Rogiest, one of the directors we met in Belgium.

< p class="e-p">Innovation is even a condition for solving the problem of lack of specialized cybersecurity personnel.

“This is what attracts young people and talent and keeps them there and which leads to obtaining this critical mass which will differentiate Gatineau from other regions in Quebec, and even in Canada. »

—  Pascal Rogiest, RHEA Group

Another element on which the Outaouais can rely, recalls Antoine Normand, of the Canadian cybersecurity industry cluster : educational institutions.

“We produce a lot of talent, the University of Quebec in Outaouais does its part, but obviously there is the presence of Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, the colleges and the Cégep de l 'Outaouais with CyberQuébec, so there is talent and the region is a magnet for talent. “

Finally, if political support currently involves support in education and business support, “the concept of innovation zone, proposed for three, maybe even four years”, regrets Antoine Normand.

The Quebec Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital says it welcomes the development of cybersecurity and digital in all regions of Quebec. However, he does not specify whether he is considering the official creation of a specific innovation zone in Gatineau.

This report was produced as part of the Concours Québec- European Union 2022 of the Ministry of International Relations and La Francophonie of Quebec in partnership with Les Offices jeunesse internationales du Québec and organized by the Professional Federation of Journalists of Quebec.

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