From Granite Bedrock to Cyber Security
The Fragile States Index 2016 by Fund for Peace ranks Finland as the most stable and sustainable country in the world, and BMI Research (Fitch Group) predicts that Finland will also remain one of the most politically stable countries globally over the next decade (2016-25). Furthermore, the Data Center Risk Index 2013 ranks Finland as the safest location in the world from the perspective of natural disasters. Safe and reliable places to store and process information are indispensable in today’s world of vastly growing amounts of digital information. However, physical and societal security is seldom enough.
Today datacenter operators are paying increasing amount of attention to national legislation on data protection and privacy. The events leading to rescission of the EU-US Safe Harbor Agreement drew attention also to the differences in the related legislation between the EU countries. States that have adopted strict legislation on data protection generally tend to be more favorable to the placement of datacenters than states without or lacking sufficient legal framework of data privacy.
Finland has a regulatory and legislative environment that respects online privacy and a flourishing cyber security sector capable of delivering the latest solutions to protect data from unlawful access.Therefore it’s safe to say Finland offers one of the safest and most reliable environments in the world for storing and processing information.
Leader in Data Privacy
Most states are interested in the surveillance of communications between electronic devices to combat cybercrime and other forms of unlawful activity. There are however major differences among the European countries when it comes to the ways of performing the surveillance and the privileges granted to the surveillance agencies. Attention should be paid to laws on intelligence-gathering – and especially how far those laws ensure that data, including sensitive and personal information of corporations as well as individuals, is secure and protected.
Finland is seen as a leader in data privacy (i.e. secrecy of information and correspondence), with more responsible policies towards the protection, retention and collection of electronic data than most other European states. The legislative environment of Finland is quite different even from that in the other Nordic countries since our law imposes strong legal protection from surveillance. In fact, the constitution of Finland declares the right of privacy to be inviolable, may communication be digital or not. Rights to surveillance can be granted for example to authorities performing inspectors of serious crimes but even in such matters an authorization must be applied and be approved by the court of law, who also keeps records of all such requests.
In Finland there is dedicated authority, Data Protection Ombudsman, that has the power to ensure compliance. Among its recent decisions it has dealt with cases related to unauthorized use of mobile telephone records by company executives, protection of financial data, and misuse of electronic databases by law enforcement agencies, for example. The favorable legislation to store and handle information has led many data center operators to establish business in Finland.
New submarine cable boosts security
The completion of the submarine data to Germany in early 2016 meant that the telecommunications connections between Finland and central Europe no longer pass through jurisdictions which have significantly different laws on data protection and privacy. This makes Finland even more attractive as a data center location for international companies.
Commenting on the Finnish government’s decision to fund the submarine cable in 2014, then Minister of Education and Communications Krista Kiuru expressed the government’s commitment “to develop Finland into a significant safe harbour of information, where companies and countries can safely place their critical data.”
Balanced legislation and new data cable to Germany give Finland competitive advantage as a data center location.