Ilona Sutela, VTT’s Corporate Security Manager, was awarded as Head of Security of the Year


In its virtual award ceremony on 17 December 2020, the Finnish Security Awards (FSA) awarded Ilona Sutela, Manager, Corporate Security at VTT, as the Head of Security of the Year. Congratulations to Ilona for the great achievement!

The FSA's Head of Security of the Year award is given to a distinguished manager who has successfully and with determination been carrying out safety work in any area of safety and security and risk management. In May this year, Manager of Corporate Security at VTT Ilona Sutela reached the mark of 15 years of service at VTT. She has enjoyed working with safety and security issues in the versatile operating environment offered by VTT.     

“This award is a really remarkable recognition. The VTT operating environment has made it possible for me to deal with a variety of safety and security issues and, at the same time, challenged me as a person working in the security sector. It keeps me alert when I need to be prepared for anything,” Ilona commends.  

Ilona Sutela

At VTT safety and security are part of everyday activities

VTT takes a preventive approach to safety and security, manifesting itself in the form of risk and continuity management, which is part of everyday operations and management at VTT. The corporate security is aimed at ensuring the achievement of the strategic objectives set for VTT to prevent the exposure of the staff, business operations, other stakeholders or the environment to any uncontrolled risks. At the beginning of 2020, VTT combined information security and the management of physical safety and security.

"We work in close collaboration with cyber security, in other words digital security, and the safety sector, and with business areas and business support. In this work, the views of all parties are needed to ensure correct targeting of safety and security measures and procedures,” Ilona says. 

Being both the head of corporate security and the head of contingency, Ilona plays a dual role at VTT. The last-mentioned of the roles took a centre stage in March during the state of emergency that was declared due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “At the time when I was starting my duties as a head of contingency, I never thought that I would end up in an emergency situation, but suddenly we were facing such conditions in spring. However, VTT managed the situation well, and we have the basic capacity to respond to it. In safety and security issues, it is important to prepare for crisis conditions and abnormal situations in advance so that we know how we can act in them by taking measures required by the situation.”

Digital world and hybrid security future trends in the security sector

Safety and security have gone through a lot of changes over the years. The operating environment has increasingly shifted into the digital world, and internationalisation and the impacts of the global economy are also visible in the security functions of VTT. “In security, the threats have transformed. The digital and physical world are becoming increasingly intertwined, and the related importance of cyber security and hybrid security will be emphasised further in the security sector in the future. It is important to remember to look safety and security matters as a whole, in terms of what affects what,” Ilona emphasises. 

Networking, further studies and keeping one's knowledge up to date play an important role in the security sector. Accordingly, Ilona is studying for her third master's degree at the University of Jyväskylä, specialising on cyber security. To counterbalance the hectic days in the office and doing studies, Ilona does several sports, ranging from team sports to individual exercises. 

You can read about more FSA (Finnish Security Awards) from here.