On the 11th and 12th October, ICTOulu led the first ever cyber security delegation to Tallinn, Estonia. The purpose of the trip was to explore possible collaborations in cyber security between Estonian stakeholders and Oulu’s ICT sector participants.
Our delegation partners included representatives of Boogie Software, Nordea, Rugged Tooling, Gofore, ProBot, Netox, Telenor Maritime, Saranen Consulting, Absoluuttinen IT, Forcit, Xiphera, Sectra, Rheinhold & Mahla, VTT, University of Oulu and the Turku University of Applied Sciences. Additionally, our delegation attracted participants from other locations that benefited from the initiative.
During the two-day delegation visit we had excellent meetings with government authorities and industry representatives in the cyber security field in Estonia. In this report you will find a summary of all that was accomplished during this trip as well as interesting links, pictures and recommendations regarding activities from us. We hope that this will be of value to those interested in or active in the area!
Our opening briefing
Our delegation program was initiated with the visit to the e-Estonia Briefing Centre, where we received an excellent presentation on the backgrounds and ongoing developments of Estonian society’s adoption of digital functionalities and services.
It is very clear that Estonia is one of the leading, if not the leading country in the world when it comes to leveraging information and communication technology as a catalyst towards a thriving economy. The strong adoption of electronic identity and shared society level integration of data-assets create a strong backbone for this transformation. And the results are there for everyone to see. Estonia has been very successful in being able to grow and scale unicorns – the result that in my opinion has straight linkage to these foundations.
I should add that the introduction and presentations that are available in the Briefing Centre are of high quality. Special thanks go to Madis Rallmann, the Centre’s Business Engagement Manager. I can happily recommend a visit for anyone who would like to learn more about this topic.
Company visits and a trip to the embassy
Next we visited a couple of businesses that specialise in security, the first of which was Cybernetica. Cybernetica is a leading cyber security company focused on developing technology for security risk management through cognitive computing and machine learning. They currently provide solutions to governments and companies, and additionally are very active in research projects within national and European programs. We met with the CEO of the company, Oliver Väärtnõu, and he spoke about his vision for the sector and his views on developing innovative approaches to cyber security solutions. Furthermore, their sector managers shared insights on their products and services.
The next firm we visited was Cybexernet. Cybexernet is a national security service provider and a top-tier defence technology company that specialises in providing cyber range solutions for government and commercial clients. We had the opportunity to speak with the Founder and CEO of the firm, Andrus Kivisaar, who shared with us his entrepreneurial journey and foresights on the cyber range business developments.
Last, but not least, in our delegation’s first day was the networking event that took place in Finland’s Embassy in Tallinn. The event was kindly hosted by Finland’s Ambassador to Estonia, Vesa Vasara, and was quite the success in terms of networking and establishing new relationships. We had a chance to present our Oulu-based assets to a fairly large audience of local entrepreneurs, but the most important thing for our delegation members was to have a chance to speak with Estonian representatives (of which there were at least 30+) and connect on a personal level.
When speaking with the Ambassador, he stressed the importance of cross-border relationships and collaboration in the field of ICT. It was also very interesting to learn about the assets of Enterprise Estonia from their manager, Sven Aulik.
Nato, CR14 and the blockchain
The second day started with the visit to Nato’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE). The centre is focused on solving complex challenges in cyber security through collaborative R&D and by offering advisory and training services. We gained insight through an excellent presentation from Urmas Ruutto about the activities of the centre and the most interesting projects that they are working on right now.
During the visit we were also given a presentation on CR14, which is a government-owned and operated entity offering cyber security-related research and development for domestic and international partners. We also gained access into their cyber range training premises, which were rather impressive.
In actual fact, It was nice to notice that at least two Oulu-based companies’ technology was integrated into simulation solutions. All in all, the visit to the centre gave us an excellent insight into the work and research being done by the CCDCOE and CR14, which was greatly appreciated by our delegation members.
Our last stop was a company called Guardtime. They are an Estonian company that is specialised in developing solutions for next generation blockchain applications in various solutions ranging from secure software development life cycle all the way to forthcoming currency concepts. In the company’s premises we were lucky enough to hear a very profound presentation of how they use blockchain technology to secure data integrity and proof of authenticity, as well as the ability to timestamp information in a way that cannot be tampered with.
So, in summary, it was rather hectic couple of days full of interesting discussions and networking possibilities that will hopefully lead to new collaborations between Finland and Estonia in the future. If you want to hear more details and learn about the participating companies, feel free to contact ICTOulu staff directly!