IKERLAN creates ORBIK CYBERSECURITY spin-off, first company in the State to certify electronic products from industrial manufacturers
This new company is in the world's top 10 in cyber security and will offer the industry an external seal of approval to certify that its products are cyber secure in accordance with international standards that will be mandatory by 2025.
- In five years, it aims to have a team of twenty people, to be present in the European market and to reach a turnover of two million euros.
In everyday life we use a multitude of connected devices (IoT), such as trains, buses, lifts or household appliances, and because they are connected, they can be susceptible to cyber-attacks. As citizens, we are not aware of the scale and number of connected devices and the influence they have on everyday life. Globally, 22.3 billion IoT devices are expected to be connected to the internet worldwide by 2024. This is a perfect scenario for the exponential growth of cybercrime, but also a great opportunity to develop the cybersecurity business and generate quality technological employment by protecting the industry from cyberattacks. Electronic products are critical in sectors such as energy, transport and industry, where the safety and security of people and goods depend on the correct functioning of these devices and where a malfunction could have very serious consequences. It is therefore very important that these electronic products are not only designed with cybersecurity criteria in mind, but also that they are regularly updated throughout their life cycle, so that they are robust and secure against possible cyber-attacks. To this end, a series of cybersecurity regulations are being developed at the international level that establish the criteria to be met by electronic products depending on their sector of application, and which are expected to be mandatory for manufacturers within two years.
In this context, the Basque technology centre IKERLAN identified a window of opportunity two years ago: to offer industry an external seal that certifies that its products are cybersecure in accordance with the most demanding international cybersecurity standards.
This idea has given birth to ORBIK CYBERSECURITY, the new spin-off of the Basque technology centre IKERLAN: a cybersecurity company based on the know-how and experience of the centre, and the only one in Spain aimed at serving European industrial manufacturers of electronic equipment that want to position themselves in the market as companies that offer certified cybersecurity products before it becomes mandatory to do so. Based in the Basque Country and with an international vocation, the new company aspires to consolidate its position as a compliance assessment laboratory with respect to international standards and added cybersecurity services, such as the active and continuous analysis of vulnerabilities, throughout the entire operating life cycle of industrial products. By 2027, ORBIK CYBERSECURITY aims to have a team of twenty professionals and a turnover of two million euros.
The new company goes on the market with a focus on companies in the electrical sector, mainly component and systems manufacturers, and in general on manufacturers of equipment for critical sectors; that is, those that offer essential services and could be more vulnerable to a cyber-attack and are therefore more sensitive to the pioneering offer proposed by ORBIK CYBERSECURITY. In the medium term, it plans to extend its activity to industrial capital goods, transport, machine tools and cybersecurity products.
Salvador Trujillo, until now head of the cybersecurity area at IKERLAN and now CEO of ORBIK CYBERSECURITY explains that the spin-off of the technology centre comes to "complete and strengthen the Basque cybersecurity ecosystem, covering a technological and regulatory need that requires a high level of specialisation and that nowadays it is necessary to contract outside the Basque Country and the State". ORBIK CYBERSECURITY is the first company in Spain to offer an external cybersecurity seal focused on the international standards that allow electronic equipment to be accredited.
Trusted local partner
In recent years, industrial cybersecurity has been one of IKERLAN's priority areas of work within its EICT - Electronics, Information and Communication Technologies - line of specialisation. It has a team of 50 people highly specialised in cybersecurity and a turnover of around €4 M per year, half of which are contracts with companies.
The volume of the area has doubled in the last three years due to the growth in the needs of companies. IKERLAN is also a member of the BCSC (Basque Cybersecurity Center) and collaborates closely with ZIUR (Industrial Cybersecurity Centre of Gipuzkoa) to offer support to industrial companies.
Internationally, IKERLAN is a member of ECSO (European Cyber Security Organization), and collaborates with the German TÜV Rheinland in certification (IEC 62443-4-1) and ISA Secure (American organisation that defines cybersecurity standards in electronics). All these collaborations fall within the scope of industrial product cybersecurity.
The managing director of IKERLAN, Ion Etxeberria, explains that "we have identified a need in the market and we want to take advantage of it with the creation of ORBIK CYBERSECURITY, which will offer manufacturers the possibility of certifying their electronic products, evaluating their robustness against possible cyber-attacks and improving their protection against these, allowing them to offer more cybersecure products to the market and positioning themselves differently with respect to their competition, anticipating the moment when certifications will be mandatory".
The EU is promoting the creation of cybersecurity schemes for different economic sectors through the so-called Cyber-security Act. Currently, evaluation and certification schemes are voluntary compliance for companies. However, a mandatory Cyber Resilience Act will come into force in two years' time, so it is important for many companies to get a head start on all processes in order to be prepared.
Seventh company in the world with an accredited cybersecurity laboratory
Currently, and during a first phase, ORBIK CYBERSECURITY will be located in the recently inaugurated Digilab laboratory facilities of IKERLAN in Arrasate-Mondragón (Gipuzkoa), the most advanced digital technologies laboratory in Spain. Furthermore, in 2023, Digilab will become the first industrial cybersecurity laboratory in Spain to be accredited by ENAC, the Spanish National Accreditation Body, in accordance with the UNE17025 standard.
In this way, IKERLAN will be the seventh company in the world and the first in Spain to have an accredited cybersecurity laboratory, according to a report published by the North American agency ISA SECURE.
ORBIK CYBERSECURITY complements the activities of IKERLAN, which will continue to develop R&D activities, providing specialised services for the evaluation and certification of electronic products in accordance with international standards and providing continuous vulnerability monitoring services for these products.
The Basque Country, spearhead of a growing sector
At a time when cyber-attacks and cybercrime are on the increase, the cybersecurity business has been growing significantly in Europe in recent years. It moves a business of 1,000 million euros worldwide, 300 million in Europe and 15 million in Spain (12 % of the total). The Basque Country, with pioneering companies and a powerful business fabric in cybersecurity, represents 30 % of the sector in Spain.
For all these reasons, the Basque Country is an ideal starting point for the launch of ORBIK CYBERSECURITY, a company that completes an ecosystem made up of electronic component suppliers (equipment manufacturers), end customers who integrate this equipment, cybersecurity service companies, universities and R&D entities, such as IKERLAN, BCSC and ZIUR.
The new company is also an opportunity to generate quality employment in a high-demand sector, and to attract and retain talent in future technologies for the competitiveness and general interest of the country. Professional profiles in the field of cybersecurity are in high demand at the moment and that is why one of ORBIK CYBERSECURITY's objectives is to attract external talent to the Basque Country.
IKERLAN is a leading centre in technology transfer and in the contribution of competitive value to industry. It offers integral solutions combining different technological domains in two main areas: Electronics, Information and Communication Technologies (EICT), and Energy and Mechatronics. The technology centre's team is currently made up of 400 people and has offices in Arrasate-Mondragón, Donostialdea and Bilbao. As a co-operative member of the MONDRAGON Corporation and the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA), IKERLAN maintains a sustainable, competitive business model in permanent transformation.