Our connected society has several interdependent sectors – energy, water supply, food supply, and logistics. At the core of everything lies electricity, which sort of acts as a lubricant that makes things work smoothly. As a result of the rapid digitalization and adoption of new technologies, the functions that are vital for society and national security are subjected to constant change. Power outages and cyber threats have become a part of everyday life. Securing critical infrastructure is an extremely important topic that has come up in the discussion as a result of the far-reaching crises that we have faced in recent years, e.g., when the crisis in Ukraine escalated into total warfare.
At the latest, the importance of securing operations becomes apparent when something goes wrong – such as if there is a large, unplanned power outage or a major accident. As an expert organization in secure digitalization, Insta contributes in many ways to ensuring the operations of safety-critical companies.
Ensuring operational reliability even in exceptional circumstances
Insta is particularly known for its strong competence in the fields of defence and cyber security as well as being a trusted cyber security partner for safety-critical companies and organizations. However, the extent of our operations relating to functions that are critical to society may surprise you. Our intelligent industry functions serve our customers in many different ways across sectors, such as energy, food production, water supply, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare. Among other things, we ensure that our customers receive the crisis-time maintenance services according to the SOPIVA guidelines by the National Emergency Supply Agency; these services improve the reliability and continuity management of critical actors’ networks.
The increase in electricity prices caused by problems in the supply of energy affects all of us. The availability of energy, companies’ reliability, and the supply of power and heat to citizens are topics discussed throughout Europe. It all comes down to ensuring the undisturbed operational continuity of the plants and systems that produce and distribute energy. The energy crisis that resulted from the Russian invasion has accelerated the phasing out of fossil fuels, and alternative ways of producing and transporting energy are being continuously developed. The role of wind and solar energy is increasing alongside bioenergy, which will contribute to increasing the share of diversified energy production. Production may be balanced by modernizing old power plants, and energy production processes can be made more efficient while reducing their environmental impacts by means of smart automation and digitalization solutions. As the production and distribution of energy are critical to the security of supply, we should not forget the importance of cyber security. The cyber security services that we offer ensure, for their part, the security of companies’ ICT systems and critical system updates.
Insta’s water supply services cover three million people in Finland
Energy supply is essential for another critical element of smooth everyday life: water supply. Backed by the Finnish Emergency Powers Act, the function comprises taking surface water or groundwater, treating it and conveying it to consumers, and the sewerage and cleaning related to wastewater. Because of the high quality water supply in Finland, it is easily taken for granted. However, at worst, disturbances in water supply can result in water shortages and serious health risks.
Insta truly cares about water supply, as the related automation that we have delivered covers up to three million Finnish people. We provide system maintenance and life-cycle services every day for our water supply customers and engage in continuous product development with our software products in order to make water supply operations even more reliable, cost-effective, and eco-friendly. Security improvements include AI-based intelligent analytics that allow for detecting deviations in the system even before they lead to malfunctions. In addition, we coach our customers on preparing for cyber security risks through training and cyber security exercises. Our realistic, simulated preparedness exercises improve the customer company’s incident processes and their employees’ readiness to act in crisis situations.
Securing, developing, and optimizing production processes as a life-cycle service
The necessity of reliable food production is easy to forget until you open the fridge. The operating environment of the food industry faces lots of requirements from the legislation as well as consumers. While the industry is experiencing continuous cost pressure, it has highly sensitive supply chains. The development of productivity and efficiency requires companies to have the skill to improve their processes and minimize waste. In order to keep health hazards and financial losses resulting from problems to a minimum, the manufacturer needs to be able to trace the raw materials at all the stages of production, manufacture, and distribution, for example. Here, automation and digitalization step in: By integrating the equipment and machinery of an automation system into one control system, the status of the process and the flow of materials and production batches can be tracked from one control center rather than many individual locations. The automatic, timely communication of orders, recipes, and parameters reduces the workload, errors, and waste while also improving product quality.
We have a strong presence in all of the above environments, and we also operate in the Finnish pharmaceutical industry. We know the strict regulations and hygiene requirements in different fields. We participate in the construction of plants as well as various investment, expansion, and renovation projects, operating in production as well as distribution. Our critical infrastructure maintenance and life-cycle services ensure that the customer receives a secure, comprehensive operating and maintenance service from our 24-hour on-call service to equipment maintenance as well as verifying operability. As a result of our in-depth understanding of our critical infrastructure customers’ production processes, high standards of quality, and strong expertise, Insta provides peace of mind and is worth your trust even in times of uncertainty.
What critical infrastructure operators should keep in mind:
- Identify and prioritize the key processes in your operations and define the responsibilities. If your organization’s resources are insufficient, ask your partner for help.
- The growing degree of intelligence and connectedness make systems even more attractive targets for cyber attacks. Keep your systems up to date and sufficiently protected.
- Information security threats are always present with industrial systems as well as in every step of their design and implementation. A good partner knows the production processes and automation systems as well as the principles of cyber security.
Read more about the services that we offer to critical infrastructure operators