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Finnish Border Guard: Europe's best-ranked information systems ensure border security

Implementing systems critical to security requires an intimate knowledge of the operating environment and the needs of the customer.

Tuomas Korpilahti

Senior Customer Manager

The challenge

In guarding the borders of Finland and the European Union, the operability and security of critical systems must be impeccable — and free of vulnerabilities.

The solution

The applications RASTI and RATAS are important factors in Finland's border security. The high-security systems produced by Tieto have been evaluated as being the best in Europe.

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About the customer

The Finnish Border Guard guards Finland's national borders and conducts border inspections in external border traffic. It is also Finland's pre-eminent maritime search and rescue service provider, and in charge of leading the response to environmental incidents on Finland's sea areas. The Finnish Border Guard also has a role in Finland's military defense, training its own wartime troops in border security missions.

The Finnish Border Guard employs 2,700 people who all maintain the border security of Finland as well as the European Union itself. The men and women of the Guard patrol and monitor some 4,000 km of international borders.

About 16 million border crossings were reported in 2018. 

Visit the Finnish Border Guard's site
Finland's border regions are monitored in real time with secure, reliable systems. Traveler information is also carefully stored and cross-referenced.

Securing Finland

Finland's border regions are monitored in real time with secure, reliable systems. Traveler information is also carefully stored and cross-referenced.

EU inspectors have assessed the Finnish Border Guard's systems to be of very high quality, stating that other member states would do well to follow their example.

European pioneer

EU inspectors have assessed the Finnish Border Guard's systems to be of very high quality, stating that other member states would do well to follow their example.

Tieto has developed critical security systems for the Finnish Border Guard since the 1990s. A wealth of experience in the sector guarantees a deep understanding of the operating environment.

Seamless cooperation

Tieto has developed critical security systems for the Finnish Border Guard since the 1990s. A wealth of experience in the sector guarantees a deep understanding of the operating environment.

Increasing border traffic and a changing security environment pose challenges

The volume of travelers has risen, and the state of Finland's border security has changed in recent years. The need for reliable and secure systems has increased along with an increasingly challenging operating environment from the Border Guard's perspective.

"Our ability to accurately predict outcomes in the current operating environment has been weakened. We have to prepare ourselves for new kinds of situations and learn to cut our response time down as low as we can," says Finnish Border Guard information technology chief, Lieutenant Colonel Janne Kurvinen.

The Finnish Border Guard is a central national security authority, a role which places certain demands on its operating systems. The systems must be extremely reliable and their operability must be guaranteed, so that the border guards can perform their tasks as well as possible. Vulnerabilities in the information systems must also be discovered and minimized.

Border checks and border control have quite specialized operating environments. The system provider has to understand our work and the needs that arise from it.

Lieutenant Colonel Janne Kurvinen

Information Technology Unit Manager, Finnish Border Guard

A critical part of the national security infrastructure

In the most recent inspection of the Finnish Border Guard, the European Commission's inspectors found the systems used to monitor and manage Finland's borders especially interesting.

The Tieto-developed border inspection system RATAS improves the surveillance of travelers at border crossing points and the efficiency of border inspections. The system can be used to record traveler information and administer the proper documentation based on national and EU background registries.

The RASTI system is used to gain a full, real-time understanding of Finland's border regions. The mapping system visualizes the observations and actions of the border patrol units.

"When speaking of systems used in operative procedures, you always have to account for the technical challenges involved in security, such as integration measures and the interfaces between the various systems. Managing and implementing such functions is always challenging," Kurvinen says.

 

The quality of border control and the information systems involved have a direct impact on Finland's national security. If the systems don't work, the border guards' ability to properly perform their duties is drastically weakened.

Lieutenant Colonel Janne Kurvinen

Information Technology Unit Manager, Finnish Border Guard

Long experience with advanced systems

Kurvinen says the key factor in developing secure, high-functioning systems is the continued collaboration with Tieto, which began in the 1990s. Both institutions have gained valuable long-term experience through cooperation on large-scale development projects.

"The Tieto staff know the Border Guard's important IT systems well. They also understand how we operate. Our cooperation has become seamless over the years," Kurvinen says.

In 2018, Tieto and the Finnish Border Guard started a project to completely rebuild the maritime search and rescue command and control system. The new information system will be utilized in the maritime search and rescue centers in Turku and Helsinki in order to create a holistic situation picture for improved situational awareness. The system improves the collaboration between the authorities and other parties involved in search and rescue operations.

"I have a positive impression of the cooperation with Tieto as well as their products. Our development arc has been mutually constructive," Kurvinen says.

Tieto's greatest strength is that they understand what the Finnish Border Guard does and how we work. Tieto understands our needs, as a result of a long-term partnership.

Lieutenant Colonel Janne Kurvinen

Information Technology Unit Manager, Finnish Border Guard

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