A critical partnership that keeps society going

For a decade now, ISS has been taking care of the functioning of the premises of Suomen Erillisverkot, the State Security Networks Group Finland, a company whose operations are essential for Finnish society as a whole. Even the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t affected ISS’s delivery of technical services, energy management and other offerings.

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The ten-year partnership between ISS and Suomen Erillisverkot (State Security Networks Group Finland) covers approximately 15 locations throughout Finland.

These underground locations are large properties where essential equipment is protected. Due to the nature of their operations, the location of these sites is kept secret. Erillisverkot is a state-owned company that handles management functions that are critical for society, including national telecommunications networks and data centers.  

Erillisverkot’s Esa Wörlin is responsible for all premises and server room operations – that is, for the company’s maintenance as a whole. 

“We have tens of thousands of square meters of space and server room operations. We have locations throughout the country from Lapland to southern Finland, and they contain equipment and systems that enable communications between both central government and commercial companies. So we’re talking about communication stations and server rooms,” says Esa. 

ISS’s role is to ensure that the technical systems of these important premises maintain uptime. The cooperation covers the maintenance and repair work of all the building technology as well as investments in life cycle management of the building technology equipment. For example, if a ventilation unit breaks down, ISS will also be responsible for replacing it. 

ISS account manager Pasi Auvinen is responsible for operations on the account. 

“This is a broad partnership: ISS provides various services to Erillisverkot, such as technical maintenance, cleaning and control room services, and on-call services. In fact, we provide all the services for the sites, except the locking system and security,” Pasi says. 

“In addition, we have most recently signed an agreement on the piloting of backup power engines and installation services related to the server rooms,” says Esa. 

“Due to the scale of our operations, we need a stable and skilled partner for maintenance.

Esa Wörlin, Production Manager, State Security Networks Group Finland
A committed team keeps facilities functioning 

Erillisverkot’s field of operations imposes strict requirements on cooperation. It is important for the partners to ensure that the locations that are essential to the functioning of society are kept safe and are well taken care of. For this reason, every ISS employee carrying out work for Erillisverkot has been screened and is bound by a non-disclosure agreement. The team is committed and understands the importance of their work. 

“In this customer account, the turnover of team members has been very low. Most of the employees have worked on the same site for several years, and for them doing this job properly is a matter of principle,” Pasi emphasizes. 

A large number of ISS employees, such as technical professionals and specialists from the institutional side, are employed at the Erillisverkot locations.  

“Many team members are in contact with the locations every day. At one of the locations, we have a cleaner working full-time,” Pasi says. 

Monitoring 24/7 

ISS’s technical and energy management center is also closely involved in the management of the customer account. 

“From our perspective, cooperation with ISS is divided into pre-maintenance, which is maintenance according to the annual clock, and 24/7 monitoring, where ISS monitors the functioning of our equipment round the clock,” says Esa. 

It is part of the service that ISS is constantly aware of the conditions on Erillisverkot’s properties. 

“The 24-hour property control room of the technical and energy management center remotely monitors and analyses the operation of the equipment located on the customer’s premises. The center forwards any alarms to the field, to our local on-call ring, and if necessary, the on-call member of staff can go to the location to check up on things at any time of day,” Pasi says. 

“Due to the scale of our operations, we need a stable and skilled partner for maintenance.  Since data communication through Erillisverkot’s premises is critical for both the public authorities and the general public, operations must remain free of interruptions at all times. For this reason, ISS’s 24/7 monitoring and repair services are essential from our point of view,” says Esa. 

Operations continue uninterrupted during the COVID-19 crisis  

The state of emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic has had a reasonably limited impact on Erillisverkot’s own operations. The ISS team makes visits to Erillisverkot’s locations with the same high frequency as before. The continuity of operations is ensured by maintenance work on building technology: ventilation, piping and cooling system maintenance, building automation and power unit maintenance. 

“Preparing for exceptional situations is part of the reason we exist, and so the coronavirus situation has not badly shaken us. Our equipment bay is built for crises. As a rule, our system is duplicated, meaning that a hardware failure, for example, will not on its own interfere with operations. There is a backup system for everything, and we are also supported by ISS’s round-the-clock services,” says Esa. 

However, when news started to emerge about coronavirus infections throughout Finland, additional cleaning began to be carried out at Erillisverkot’s locations. Now ISS cleaners disinfect surfaces more rigorously and more frequently than before, and do so several times a day in certain locations. ISS also supplies disinfectants to Erillisverkot to avoid potential transmission of infections at the locations. 

“ISS maintains good internal guidance for its staff. The team members have been directed to keep a safe distance from others and to avoid unnecessary contact. The employees who work at our locations under normal circumstances are also working now. There have been no big changes on the ground here,” says Esa. 

However, communication between ISS and Erillisverkot has taken on some new aspects. 

“Now we update our contingency plan for the customer more often than before, once a week. The plans contain information on possible cases of illness or quarantine, amongst other things. Thanks to active reporting, we are able to prepare for changing situations,” Pasi says. 

Meetings that were previously held monthly are now held weekly, and are held online to ensure safety. Erillisverkot has been pleased with the activities during the exceptional period. 

“The basic idea is that the operations continue to function as normal, and so far this has been a success,” Esa says. “There has been little need to make special arrangements – none that we have noticed, at least.” 

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