Cyber defence is a strategic priority and an issue of critical importance for national sovereignty. The Ministry for the Armed Forces and the French defence industry are therefore engaged in a concerted effort to protect and defend information systems from cyber threats. To help its customers achieve their objectives in cyber defence and security, Thales has launched a co-development laboratory known as La Ruche (“the hive”) to promote innovative software development practices.
The lab is working in DevSecOps mode alongside the French defence procurement agency’s electronic systems research directorate (DGA Maîtrise de l’Information) and the French Air Force technical directorate. In a DevSecOps environment, security decisions and actions are taken at the same scale and speed as development and operations decisions and actions. As a result, each actor is permanently involved throughout the development process in co-creating innovative technology building blocks that will protect and defend French airspace from cyber threats in the future.
La Ruche is a powerhouse of talent and technology with about 30 cyber experts and engineers applying a methodology that is complementary to traditional approaches to cybersecurity and involves analysing huge volumes of data to detect potentially abnormal patterns of system, technical, human or operational behaviour. Software components co-developed in this way will be incorporated into future airspace surveillance, control and security systems to enable France to assert its national soveriegnty.
La Ruche was launched by Thales’s air operations business in June 2017. Located in Rennes, Brittany, it draws on the vibrant ecosystem of innovation partners structured around the Cyber Excellence Cluster (Pôle d’Excellence Cyber), which is also based in Brittany. It intends to play an active role in this ecosystem by establishing strong ties with local start-ups and SMEs and with Brittany’s academic and research community.
This co-development methodology enables all stakeholders to adopt a more concerted approach and apply more efficient, more agile working practices. La Ruche is continuing to expand and will move into new premises in a few months. A total of 60 engineers and experts are expected to be working there by the end of 2019.