03 | 2006
Technology to support safety and security of society and people
VTT's technology roadmap foresees new business
Safety and security are and will be increasingly dependent on how technology
can be made to serve the needs of an increasingly complicated society. Several
new technological applications have already been developed to increase safety
and security, for instance in the preparation for biohazards and pandemics. In
the future, according to VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the
securing of critical infrastructure, as well as industrial activities ,
information security and the technologies and services of the security
industry will be the key issues of research and development in this field.
Safety and security are and will be increasingly dependent on how technology can be made to serve the needs of an increasingly complicated society. Several new technological applications have already been developed to increase safety and security, for instance in the preparation for biohazards and pandemics. In the future, according to VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the securing of critical infrastructure, as well as industrial activities , information security and the technologies and services of the security industry will be the key issues of research and development in this field.
Safety is an integral part of people’s and companies’ wellbeing. In addition to human injuries, several percent of the gross national product is lost as a result of accidents and disasters. Approximately 4,000 people die annually as a result of accidents or violence in Finland. The failures in energy systems and disruptions in telecommunications in recent years show that our society’s systems are vulnerable, too. More complicated systems and new threats may increase the vulnerability of the entire society. The nature of the risks will change in the future.
VTT develops technology to support the safety and security of society and its people, as its importance will be emphasised in future society. Safety must already be planned and built into services, products and systems at the design stage. VTT is promoting the planning of security research and the generation of a Finnish safety and security cluster, as well as preparing for the EU's security programme, which starts at the beginning of next year.
EU’s security programme calls for new technological solutions
Ensuring safety and security in society and vital operations has become a considerable challenge in Europe. The description of the EU’s security programme aimed at ensuring this states: "technology itself cannot guarantee security but security without the support of technology is impossible". There is huge development potential in this area.
VTT has versatile safety and security know-how. Central application areas for technologies that ensure safety and security are, for instance, energy networks, telecommunication networks, water supply and sewerage systems, traffic and transportation, the safeguarding of people, safety in production and service operations, real estate and office safety, and the information security related to production, products and systems.
New opportunities to ensure safety and security
Technological systems are becoming increasingly complicated. They are utilising more information and communications technologies. To control these operations VTT is developing new methods that are already applied, e.g. in telecommunication systems and energy production and distribution.
Technology alone cannot, however, ensure safety and security. Therefore, in addition to technology development, we also focus on developing practices that ensure and promote safety and security.
VTT’s safety and security research focuses on securing critical infrastructure, ensuring safety in industry and developing technologies and services that ensure safety and security.
VTT sees considerable growth potential in safety and security research. In the EU’s upcoming framework programme this is a subject area of its own. There is also considerable international industry in this area in Finland. Many companies have already noticed that increased safety and security offers their traditional products a considerable competitive advantage. These include different transportation and logistics solutions, industrial service products and data systems.
Network and information security risks increase
The increasing complexity of products, services and telecommunication networks is a challenge for ensuring a sufficient level of information security. Solutions have been mainly developed for closed systems, while the new situation calls for a holistic view and understanding of network and information security issues in all subsystems and environments. The competition in turn sets tough time schedule requirements for product development and production, which also increases security risks. Typical ICT solutions diffuse to traditional industries like industrial automation, where no systematic information security management culture has necessarily existed.
VTT’s approach to information security is holistic. Research and development actively combines the know-how of experts in different fields. The focus areas of VTT’s information security research and development are information security auditing, information security evaluation, testing and monitoring, risk and vulnerability analysis, protection of networked and mobile systems, secure software platforms and architectures, security in information systems, biometric and multimodal identification, information security of critical infrastructures and content protection.
VTT is an impartial expert organisation. Its objective is to develop new technologies, create new innovations and value added thus increasing customer's competencies. With its know how VTT produces research, development, testing and information services to public sector and companies as well as international organisations.