While French players in security software and services are still struggling to influence the international scene, the Hexatrust association, which brings together 29 publishers in this field, is firing on all cylinders to help them develop. Calling investors, interoperability and labeling are on the agenda for 2017.
Live from Lille. The French security providers grouped within the Hexatrust association had much to celebrate at FIC 2017, the cybersecurity forum held in Lille on January 24 and 25. One of their own, Prove&Run, a publisher specializing in the security of connected objects and a member of Hexatrust for two years, was awarded the prize for innovative SMEs. A very good news that hides yet other less pleasing. Because on a global market for software, hardware and services in global security estimated in 2015 at 67 billion euros – which could reach 152 billion euros in 2010 -, France is still Tom Thumb. In 2014-2015, turnover in the territory only reached “3 billion euros, up 5% against 3.7 billion for the United Kingdom (+6%) and 4, 3 for Germany (+6%), according to the latest Cybersecurity and Digital Trust white paper written jointly by Hexatrust and the Systematic competitiveness cluster.
“France’s share is low in global IT, but it is even more obvious in cybersecurity”, warns Jean-Noël de Galzain, president of the group of companies specializing in cybersecurity Hexatrust, vice-president of Systematic and president of Wallix. “It’s dangerous not to have mastery of digital trust. There is an emergency in digital equipment and cybersecurity that has been amplified with the terrorist threat that can only be answered with investment”. But France has more than one card to play in this area, especially since there is no shortage of quality suppliers. According to the Hexatrust and Systematic white paper presented at FIC 2017, activity in the cybersecurity sector in France could grow by 10.4% per year by 2020 for a 7.4% increase in employment.
Sluggish growth in Hexatrust’s turnover for 2016
With the mission of federating the French cybersecurity offer, the Hexatrust club is now made up of 29 members in 9 areas: messaging (Idecsi and Vade Secure), mobile and web flows (Efficient IP, Olfeo and Pradeo) , data leakage (Itrust and Wooxo), transactions (Denyall, CDC Arkhineo, Netheos, Ozon), connected objects (Prove&Run), identity and access management (Idnomic, Inwebo, Ilex International, Neowave, Novalys and Wallix), governance traceability and audit (Brainwave, Egerie Software and Trustinsoft), encryption and confidentiality (6Wind, Ercom, Prim’X and Thegreenbow) as well as industrial systems (Bertin IT, ESI Group, Seclab and Sentryo).
While last year, Hexatrust’s overall turnover was up 40% over one year to 130 million euros, the results for 2016 are however looking far from being as good. “Three companies have changed scope or have been bought out, namely OpenTrust, Qosmos and Denyall,” recalled Jean-Noël de Galzain. In detail, OpenTrust sold its electronic signature activity to Docusign, Qosmos was bought by the Swedish Enea, while Denyall was blown by the German Rohde & Schwarz Cybersecurity. Changes of hands which should therefore have a significant impact on Hexatrust’s revenues in 2016 which have not yet been disclosed.
Increase meetings with users to better understand their needs
In order to reverse the trend, several levers of action are envisaged. Thus, the president of Hexatrust, for example, is campaigning for the major public order givers to trust French security publishers to meet their needs. A good way, according to him, to ensure first of all the growth of these French cybersecurity champions but also to put them in a dynamic of international growth. “We work with investors and also Bpifrance to bring them out and promote them,” explains Jean-Noël de Galzain. “Companies in the sector suffer from under-capitalization and lack private investment. In the end, they are particularly dependent on the research tax credit and the tax credit for competitiveness and employment”, can we also read in the white paper of Hexatrust and Systematic.
This year, there are also plans to increase meetings between club members and users in order to focus even more on their expectations in order to meet their needs in the most relevant and effective way possible. But also to play the card of the interoperability of “made in France” security solutions, with others at European level but not only. “We pool integrators and resellers in Germany, Belgium, the United States but also in the Maghreb and Asia-Pacific with French cybersecurity solutions in order to industrialize their interoperability and allow them to hunt in packs”.
In addition, in order to increase the breakthrough of French cybersecurity solutions abroad, Hexatrust is continuing its “France Cybersecurity” labeling operation aimed at increasing their visibility internationally while attesting to users and contractors the quality and functionality of the products and services thus labeled. Since the launch of this label in January 2015, more than 70 products or services have benefited from it.