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Finland’s preconditions for cyber security capabilities are good - clearer national resolve and deeper cooperation needed


​VTT Technical Research of Finland Ltd and Cyberlab Ltd examined Finland's current cyber security capabilities and the future outlook as well as strengths and weaknesses in cyber security capabilities. Finland's potential in further developing cyber security capabilities is good. But only a handful of actors master the core competencies and capabilities are relatively narrow.

With critical functions being performed through information networks, societies are ever more dependent on cyber security, because attacks are made increasingly through such networks.

The Cyber security competencies in Finland  project analysed research activities, training, innovation and development, the role of the public administration and the current status in cooperation related to cyber security in companies, institutions of higher education and research institutes in Finland. The competencies were mirrored against three pre-eminent countries, namely the Netherlands, Estonia and Israel.  

Finland's potential in further developing cyber security capabilities is good. Companies, higher education institutions and research institutes in Finland are home to some high-quality cyber security research, development and innovation activities and knowhow. Research in the field has been growing and business operations in the field are robust. The challenge faced by research is that the competencies are fragmented into small units. Companies in the field are mainly small businesses and it is a challenge to boost business operations and becoming international.

Stronger cooperation and a clear national resolve needed

More cooperation between actors is needed in Finland, so that our international stance can be improved.

'We have strong competence but it is located in different organisations at the moment, and cooperation between different parties is only starting to evolve in a direction that is essential', said Antti Pelkonen, Senior Scientist at VTT. By exploiting public procurement, for instance, it is possible to boost overall competence in this field.

There is a shortage of competent people in this field, which manifests itself in recruitment difficulties in companies. There are some evident bottlenecks in competence in certain specialised areas, such as in cryptology, which requires specific skills in mathematics. The technological base in cyber security competence in Finland is diversified and good, but besides developing technological knowhow, we will need to broaden our competencies into other areas in the future, such as into expertise in commercialisation, law and behavioural sciences.

One particular challenge is that international competition in cyber security has become tougher, and Finland needs resolute action and solutions for the future to enhance competencies. We need robust national resolve and concrete action that can forge different actors in the field together.

The Cyber security competencies in Finland  study was carried out as part of the implementation of the Government's 2014 plan for analysis, assessment and research.

The report presents a mix of recommendations for action that aim to strengthen Finland's cyber security competence and bring it into the same league as the current leading countries.      

Online access to publication: Cyber security competencies in Finland - Present state and roadmap for the future (in Finnish)

Further information about the Government's analysis, assessment and research activities