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Published on November 25th, 2022 📆 | 5700 Views ⚑

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Orange puts cybersecurity at the heart of its growth plans, Security


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LYON, France – Orange Group has unveiled plans to invest heavily in the development of cybersecurity services and specialist security staff, with CEO Christel Heydemann (above right) highlighting cybersecurity services as vital for both the giant French telco’s growth and society in general.

During a presentation at the headquarters of the telco’s security division on Friday, Orange Cyberdefense (OCD), in the French city of Lyon, Heydemann explained that as online attacks increase, cybersecurity “is not a cost, it’s an investment”. 

As she spoke, Orange released some of the headline details of its Security Navigator 2023 report that highlights the increasing pressure being placed on companies and public sector organisations of all sizes by the increasing volumes and sophistication of cybersecurity attacks – see Security Navigator 2023 shows Cyber Extortion dominates landscape as 40% is malware.

This is why the operator decided “a long time ago” to invest in cybersecurity and plans to continue increasing the investment.

She did not provide figures for the investments made by OCD when asked by TelecomTV about specifics, but noted that the unit has invested “so much – we purchased many companies, this is a fact – in non-organic growth and organic as well”.

The Orange CEO highlighted the recent purchase of two companies based in Switzerland, SCRT and Telsys, which cost €500m in total, as examples.

Heydemann noted that Orange invests more than €7bn per year in its networks and systems across the group’s international operations.

Apart from acquisitions, in 2023 the company also plans to invest in the recruitment of 600 staff members for its cybersecurity team in France alone. Heydemann also urged hackers, architects, analysts and other specialists in the cybersecurity field to join the company.

Targeting customers

Heydemann, who is putting a great deal of strategic emphasis on meeting the needs of enterprise users as she revamps the telco’s business and operational focus, stressed Orange’s ambition to “be a pioneer in cyber protection for people, customers and society more broadly,” and claimed the operator is different from other cybersecurity players because it’s not only able to deliver solutions on a technological level but can also leverage its telecoms infrastructure to provider a broader and more extensive service. 

CEO of Orange Cyberdefense Hugues Foulon (above left) claimed OCD is already a leader in France and Belgium while it is also perceived as a challenger in the two leading IT markets in Europe – the UK and Germany. Foulon added that OCD is not yet operational in Italy and Spain.

“Our aim is to grow [faster] than the market. We’re trying to grow at a rate of 10-15%,” and the aim has been to reach €1bn of annual turnover. “By the end of November 2022 we’ve already reached this objective”, Foulon noted, though he declined to disclose any details on margins and profitability.

Foulon explained that ODN isn’t focusing its cybersecurity services on any specific industry verticals, but noted the particular demands of companies in the finance sector, such as banks and insurance companies, which are already some of Orange’s “historical customers”. “They have big needs because IT is even more critical there than elsewhere”, Foulon noted.

Looking ahead, Foulon expects the manufacturing industry to emerge in the next five years as a high growth sector for ODN and become as important as the financial services industry.  

Responding to a TelecomTV question regarding the development of quantum-based technology solutions, Jose Araujo, CTO of Orange Cyberdefense, noted that while operator doesn’t currently have any developments of its own, it does “track this very closely” and contributes to algorithms that are being worked on by the team of 700 researchers at Orange Innovation.

“On the quantum cryptographic side of things – we do not develop solutions, we must be able to track and understand this technology [so we can] implement it within our networks and configure it correctly. We’re up to date with this”, Araujo added. 

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV

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