Finland is a provider, not a consumer, of security

Technology and digitalisation are bringing us all closer in a completely new way. However, there is one thing that will not change: the competitiveness of companies and the government is based on well-functioning basic structures of society.

In his blog post, Jorma Issakainen brought up the importance of critical infrastructure protection (CIP) for a society in contemporary world.

The systems of society are increasingly interconnected and mutually dependent. Therefore, technical matters alone are no longer the focus area in the protection of critical infrastructure. The greater the digitalisation of services and systems, the more targets there are for a potential hybrid attacker.

Critical infrastructure can be national, regional and global. However the easiest and most productive method to start building CIP solutions and models is to do it at the national level. Finland has succeeded in this. On a global scale, Finland can be considered to be a provider, not a consumer, of security. At the same time, it must be noted that in Finland as well, there is plenty of room for improvement for us to stay abreast of the change. Nevertheless, our national model of comprehensive security provides a solid foundation for the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) activities. This model has also been considered the best “hybrid defence”.

The private sector currently owns functions and services that are critical for society, but ultimately, the government is responsible for protecting them. Therefore, the partnership between the public and the private sector is extremely important in CIP activities. According to some estimates, 80% of the cyber security resources and competence are found in the private sector. This also highlights the growing importance of cooperation between the public and the private.

Both the private and the public sector in Finland have always boasted top-notch safety and security competences, of which an example could be the innovation continuum from Abloy to F-Secure. Perhaps this contributes to the advanced approach that we in Finland have jointly applied to the protection of the modern world's critical infrastructure. Finland's Security Strategy for Society being currently updated is a good example of this. Hybrid operations take place every day, and there no longer is a boundary between wartime and peace. Therefore, seamless cooperation between all key players of society is the only credible and cost-efficient solution.

Overall safety and security is thus also about improving the competitiveness of society. The safer the society, the more competitive the nation-state. This philosophy considers the functioning of CIP structures a key, and it requires continuous monitoring, vigilance – and cooperation. Key factors include improved overall awareness of the accelerating change in our operating environment and the ability to react quickly. These factors are highlighted when a society’s risk tolerance and the resilience of the society are developed.

Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) is the theme of the Abloy Focus Forum 2017 seminar held on 10 May in Helsinki, Finland.


Aapo Cederberg

Associate Fellow, Geneva Centre for Security Policy