IT services giant CGI has opened its first cyber security centre in the Nordic countries to serve customers across the region.
The new centre, located in Finnish capital Helsinki, monitors threats, attacks and malware across networks and data communications. The centre, which has 20 staff, also implements cyber security defence measures, including digital forensics.
“We have seen the demand for these kinds of services grow tremendously in the past two years and there is no sign of it slowing down,” said Jan Mickos, CGI’s director of cyber security services in Finland. “The core of the centre is 24-hour security monitoring services where we collect a wide variety of data on incidents, no matter whether it’s log data, network data or something else.”

Similar services were previously provided for Nordic customers from CGI’s global security and network operations centres, but according to Mickos there was demand in the region for local services – particularly in the Finnish public sector, which made privacy issues a top priority.
“This market is also quite different in Finland. Organisations here often have already invested in the technical side of security mechanisms,” he said. “They might have rooms full of sensors and such, but not the manpower needed to do the analytics and the operational side of security. In the Finnish centre our approach is that we integrate with the customer’s existing infrastructure and expand it only where really needed.”
Mickos said similar technical readiness can also be seen in Sweden on a smaller scale, but it is a long way from the company’s experiences in North America. Security services there are mostly provided as a complete package, including both technical and operational services.

CGI’s Finnish cyber centre has been operational for more than a year, but the company wanted it to reach a level of maturity before announcing it publicly.
The amount of preparation CGI has put into the launch of its Finnish centre is understandable. Cyber attacks are growing in the Nordics, both in number and sophistication, something which has not gone unnoticed, according to Katriina Valli, vice-president of research at Gartner Finland.
“We can see a growth in demand [for cyber security services] and the maturity level of Finnish organisations has slightly increased even over the past year,” she said. “This is largely due to rather public breaches and distributed denial-of-service attacks that have affected Finnish and Nordic companies alike.
“There is still much to develop, however, in building more strategic approaches towards corporate security instead of reacting only after harm has already been done.”
Mickos agreed that while cyber security maturity is still at a moderate level in Finnish organisations, there has been clear change in attitudes towards security issues
“The general risk awareness has significantly increased in all industries and even on the individual level. At least people now acknowledge [cyber security] could be an issue. How deep the understanding is, that’s another question, but awareness is a good start,” he said.

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