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New business of safety and security

19.09.2006


Technology to support safety and security of society and people

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 made 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 society’s systems, safety in industry, 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 values, 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 power failures 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 cannot ensure safety and security but safety and security cannot be reached without support from technology". 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. VTT is developing new methods to control these operations 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 society’s systems, 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.

 

 

More information

Veikko Rouhiainen
Research Professor
+358 20 722 3262


Reijo Savola
Network and Information Security Research Coordinator of VTT
+358 20 722 2138