Finnish government strengthens country’s IT network security

by Jeremy

Finland has established a national organization to appraise domestic communications network security concerns and evaluate vulnerabilities to attacks from the cyber domain. The Network Security Advisory Board (NSAB) will engage with state agencies, corporations, and municipalities as a national resource for those that require external expertise to improve network security and bolster defenses against cyber threats. It will offer state and municipal organizations the capacity to implement improved security, integrate security technologies, and better monitor cyber risks and threats to communications networks.

It was launched with a specific timeframe and mission, which includes addressing critical cyber security issues identified by the Finnish government, and is set to conclude in June 2022. The NSAB’s activation followed the ratification of the Finnish Act on Electronic Communications Services, which became law in January 2021.

“Informing the NSAB, our objective is to strengthen the broad social importance of cyber security and cooperation across important sectors,” said Timo Harakka, Finland’s transport, and communications minister. “The prerequisite for economic success is national security, and Finland’s advanced approach continues to attract widespread international interest.”

For Finland, the establishment of the NSAB is in direct response to the European Union’s joint risk assessment report on the security of 5G networks (JRAR-5GN) published in October 2019. The joint mutual risk initiative was launched during Finland’s rotating six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union, which ended on 31 December 2019.

The JRAR-5GN was endorsed by member states, the European Commission (EC), and the European Agency for Cybersecurity. The EU 27-backed project represented the completion of a significant step in the EC’s push for a common EU approach to improved cyber defense strategies and the security of 5G networks.

Private sector input in the NSAB is reflected in its board and backers. These include telecommunications companies Elisa, Telia Finland and DNA, and the Finnish Federation for Communications and Teleinformatics (FiCom), the leading lobbying organization for the ICT industry in Finland.

The core membership of the NSAB comprises representatives from foreign affairs, transport and communications, defense, interior, economic affairs, and finance ministries. Officials from Suomen Erillisverkot and the Finnish security and intelligence service SUPO also sit on the NSAB. Suomen Erillisverkot operates as the Finnish State’s primary supplier of ICT and network security services to public authorities.

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