According to Article R. 1332-2 of the French Defence Code, a vitally important sector of activity concerns activities that "relate to the production and distribution of essential goods or services (when these activities are difficult to substitute or replace): meeting the essential needs for the life of the population, exercise of State authority, operation of the economy, maintenance of defence potential, or national security.

As a result, a vital operator is engaged in activities that fall within a vitally important sector of activity.