On Friday 29 April, RHEA Group, in partnership with IDELUX, the regional development agency for the Belgian province of Luxembourg, announced the construction of its new European Centre of Excellence for Cybersecurity at a gathering of members of the Belgian government, senior representatives of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the media at the Galaxia Park in Transinne, Belgium.
Left to right: Georges Cottin, André Sincennes, Willly Borsus, Thomas Dermine, Hugo Maree.
The new European Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence, which will be operational in 2023, will offer a full range of cybersecurity services to protect the critical infrastructure and assets of Europe’s economic, institutional and governmental players. These services will include testing, consultancy, design, training, managed security operations centre (SOC) services and incident response.
In the face of rising cyber threats, this new Centre will help to effectively address the concerns and preventive and corrective needs of European organizations. At the event, the Vice-President and Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade of Wallonia, Willy Borsus, pointed out that the number of attacks on companies and individuals had increased by 80% compared to one year ago. “Addressing this rise in cyberattacks is urgent and we will make all the necessary efforts to develop this cyber ecosystem with all relevant actors, in order to strengthen our resilience,” he announced.
The objective of this ambitious investment – which, at €20 million, represents the largest private investment in Belgium dedicated to cybersecurity – is to develop a “unique cybersecurity ecosystem, a Cyber Valley, a centre of expertise in the heart of Europe to meet the needs of European organizations from a single centre of gravity,” said André Sincennes, CEO of RHEA Group. The new Centre is being constructed in partnership with IDELUX, the regional development agency for the Belgian province of Luxembourg.
Belgium, a key player in European space and fifth largest contributor to the ESA budget, has placed cybersecurity at the heart of its political priorities, noted Thomas Dermine, Belgium’s Secretary of State for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investments. During the event, Dermine praised the “perfect alignment between the private, public and academic sectors,” around this ambitious project.
A pioneer in cybersecurity services for the space sector, RHEA Group has provided cybersecurity services to ESA since 2016. In particular, RHEA supports ESA’s European Space Centre for Security and Education (ESEC) in Redu, Belgium, for which it provides state-of-the-art security tools and services.
“ESA has a duty to protect its member states and missions,” emphasized Hugo Maree, Head of ESA’s Education Office, at the event. “That is why the Agency is now strengthening its cybersecurity strategy.” RHEA will continue to collaborate with ESA’s new Cyber Security Operations Centre (C-SOC) and the Security Cyber Centre of Excellence (SCCoE), both located in Redu.
Political and institutional leaders and media representatives attending the event visited the construction site in the heart of Galaxia Park in Transinne. The 3,300m2 modular building, designed to have a minimal ecological footprint, will consist of a central core and two wings of two floors each. It will offer four work areas, each dedicated to a type of stakeholder, to ensure the appropriate levels of security: commercial operators; organizations managing critical infrastructure; space-related sectors; and a classified high-security section for certain government organizations.
Construction begins this month under the direction of Assar Architects, who were responsible for the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
Images: European Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence, Transinne (architect’s impressions).