Sébastien Genesca succeeds Yves Reding who is retiring after 22 years of commitment to digital trust
For more than two decades, Yves Reding has been working to create the conditions of trust necessary for economic stakeholders to evolve in the digital age. In September 2022, EBRC's historic CEO is handing over to Sébastien Genesca. This is an opportunity to discuss the history of the European leader in the management of sensitive data and the challenges of the future.
Yves Reding, with your retirement, a historic page in the history of EBRC is being turned. How would you sum up the 22 years you spent at the head of the company?
Yves Reding: It is the story of an extraordinary entrepreneurial adventure, at the service of stakeholders called upon to evolve in a developing digital environment. I still remember June 15, 2000, when we founded EBRC. At the time, the company was called BRC, for Business & Recovery Center, and it aimed to offer backup positions to financial market players, with the aim of ensuring business continuity. I accepted the challenge of developing this business, which involved substantial investments with the creation of a first Data Center. Very quickly, as we entered the digital era, we began working on e-business projects, giving the 'E' to 'EBRC'.
What were the main stages in the development of the business?
Yves Reding: There have been five major five-year periods. The first was the launch, developing a business as a start-up, serving banking clients. Between 2000 and 2005, we laid the foundations, focusing even then on quality and a high level of service. In 2003, we were the third player in the market to obtain the status of support PFS, shortly after that recognition was launchedcreated. During this period, we developed a second Data Center, set up our managed services offer and created our first Security Operation Centre. It was at this time that we launched our first managed services offer. In 2003, we launched started the construction of the first Tier IV Data Center, even though the label did not yet exist. We anticipated this, setting ourselves the goal of being able to meet the highest level of requirements of major international players in terms of availability. The inauguration of this infrastructure in Windhof marked the beginning of EBRC's second major development period.
How did EBRC evolve after that?
Yves Reding: The second major period involved the internationalisation of the business. The name changed to e-Business & Resilience Center. In addition to business continuity, we adopted a state of mind of permanent agility in the face of change, with the desire to help our clients evolve more effectively in a changing world, to better anticipate risks and seize new opportunities. The inauguration of our 4th Data Center, which was also Tier IV certified, in Kayl, marked the beginning of the third period. We became acutely aware of our social and environmental responsibility as a digital player. This was reflected in the adoption of a new logo, the INUKSUK, an Inuit symbol of resilience, and the adoption of the EARTH (Excellence, Agility, Responsibility, Trust & Human) values. The new facility was a low energy consumption facility and used renewable energy. Even today, clients can reduce their carbon footprint by outsourcing their IT management to our teams. The principle of excellence is reflected in a series of certifications (ISO 27001, ISO 20000, PCI DSS) that commit our teams to a process of continuous improvement. Then we put these values into practice, launching our first cloud and a set of 'Trusted' services. It was a fantastic time, marked by innovation, including support provided to many start-ups and emerging digital economy players: Olkypay, FlashIZ, Yapital, and more.
When did the current European positioning take hold?
In 2012, we opened a new Data Center in Betzdorf. EBRC became the European Business Reliance Center, "the European centre you can rely on". In just a few years, we have gone from being "Europe's best kept secret", as we were called, to being "a European player and leader in the field of sensitive data". From 2010 to 2015, proud of the European values that drove us, we developed a strong ecosystem, enabling European players to enter and evolve in the digital era. In support of these ambitions, we continued to grow, developing our presence in France, strengthening our security offering and that in the field of resilience. Our acquisition of a stake in DIGORA, a company specialising in the valorisation of data, is also noteworthy. It enabled us to move into the upper layers of value creation.
What does EBRC represent today?
Yves Reding: Between 2015 and 2020, we set ourselves the ambition of doubling our turnover, the number of clients, and also our staff. We have met this challenge, despite the COVID crisis that hit us in 2020. In 2021, EBRC had a turnover of more than 113 million euros, with 800 clients and nearly 200 employees (360 including the DIGORA teams).
Sébastien Genesca: Beyond this growth, we can also welcome a remarkable diversification of the business. Although EBRC was created to serve the financial sector, the company now responds to the challenges of many players in various fields, all of which have in common the need to manage and operate sensitive data. Today, finance represents 30% of EBRC's customer base, including 40 fintechs whose activities are operated by our teams and in our production environments. We also serve European institutions and the health, critical industry, space, automotive, payment and defence sectors.
You mentioned COVID, but the last 20 years have been marked by many crises. As a player who advocates resilience, how did you deal with them?
Yves Reding: Behind every crisis there are opportunities. We have been through several - the bursting of the Internet bubble, the 2008 crisis, the 9/11 attacks, the 2008 financial crisis, the currency crisis and then the pandemic. Despite the uncertainty, we continued to invest in the midst of these crises, expanding our Data Centers, never compromising on quality and security, and maintaining a close, bespoke service to our customersclients. This approach has enabled us to continue to grow through the crises. For Europe, COVID has been an opportunity. It created an awareness of the need to ensure our sovereignty in many areas, including digital. EBRC supports and takes part in the initiatives of the European Union following this "awakening" of the leaders: the Data Governance Act, the NIS, the Cybersecurity Act, the Artificial Intelligence Act and certainly the most ambitious of all: GAIA-X.
EBRC is about to enter a new era, with a change in management and the arrival of Sébastien Genesca. What are the challenges for the future?
Sébastien Genesca: First and foremost, we must pay tribute to what Yves and his teams have accomplished over the past 20 years. We are going to continue this work, while respecting the established vision, which has proven its relevance in a world that is evolving ever more rapidly. From this perspective, one of the challenges is to build on the solid foundations that have been set down, which are the infrastructures but also the robust and certified operational models, in order to move up to the higher layers and develop value. In the years to come, we need to be more involved in consulting, to better support global transformation projects and enable our clients to derive more value from their data while keeping it safe.
Yves Reding: In the digital world, the future is already here. As Sébastien mentioned, the challenge is to move towards the high layers of system environments. Our investment in GAIA-X, which is both a real trust hub and a data infrastructure on a European scale, contributes to this approach. This new environment, designed in accordance with European values, is characterised by its openness, interoperability, transparency, compliance with regulations, sovereignty and security - in other words, what we have been advocating for many years. A single European digital market is gradually being consolidated. This is a real opportunity for EBRC.
Sébastien Genesca: Data is the main vector of value creation in the digital economy. Controlling it is critical. With our positioning around sensitive data, we intend to support players in managing, securing and leveraging it, with high value-added customised services. The use of data requires greater regulation, to ensure that it is used ethically, respectfully, openly and transparently. We are here to advise clients on these changes, their implications and, more than ever, to ensure everyone's confidence in the digital world.