If you do not live in Finland or do not have any financial ties to Finland, you may not be aware of the Finnish Trust Network (FTN).   However, the FTN has both direct and indirect impact across the EU that all businesses should be aware of. Regulation 27 of the European Commission will eventually be transposed into the national law of every member state, so similar requirements and benefits, will be coming to your local market too – including increased security and reduced costs for consumers and application providers.

Ubisecure has been an active participant in the Finnish government-led definition of moving the country from TUPAS to FTN.  We have previously explained the functional aspects of the FTN (Finnish Trust Network), including its genesis, Regulation 27 of the European Commission and our participation in the formalisation of the FTN. In this follow-up blog we will go back to basics to explain why all EU companies should take note of what’s happening in Finland.

Cross-border strong authentication hub as a single service

Before the FTN, every individual company or organisation that wished to use advanced digitalisation and build on existing strong digital identities had to make direct 1:1 contracts and connections with each of the Identity Providers (IdPs) out there, typically the banks and telcos.  You can imagine that processing the contract alone would prevent many organisations from even being able to establish such a digital service – contracting directly with several banks could be a full-time job.  This doesn’t include the consideration over the technical setup – likely 10 or more direct connections to configure and maintain.  Overall, the prior generation of digital strong authentication was time-consuming and created lots of potential for error during the service integration phase.

Thanks to the FTN, a brokering service with a single service authentication hub is available – one central point to contract with and connect to.  Here at Ubisecure, we are in a strategic alliance with Telia, one of the biggest telcos in the Nordics to deliver the (award winning) brokering platform.  Telia’s Identification Broker Service (TIBS) enables organisations to maintain a single contract with Telia and gain access to all 14 primary financial institutions participating in the FTN.  A single contract with a single integration.  It’s never been easier for businesses to benefit from strong digital authentication – KYC (Know Your Customer) – without having to maintain connections to multiple IdPs, typically banks. FTN drives and enables business through true digitalisation.

For more information on the award winning Telia Identification Broker Service please visit here or read our case study explaining the project and its use cases.

Financial drivers for the FTN

Still, the FTN isn’t just about ease of use and digitalisation enabling modern digital services. While, officially, regulated numbers have not been published, it’s clear that the cost of digital authentication prior to the launch of the FTN was substantially higher and varied greatly depending on the desired authentication method being used by each end user.  The overall costs of using the FTN are less than they were pre-FTN, and the expectation is that as usage increases the transactional cost will decrease over time.

At the same time, the ease of use of the FTN compared to pre-FTN means that more and more organisations can start participating in the continued digitalisation of the Finnish economy. The precursor to FTN is Finland’s Suomi.fi public services portal – which utilises the same authentication capabilities available in the FTN.  Suomi.fi received some 57 million authentications, and 2018 saw a 53% growth to 87 million authentications.  For 2019, the stats are still open, but it is expected that Suomi.fi will top 110 million authentications. (Statistics from VRK Väestörekisterikeskuksen Tilinpäästös Vuodelta 2018)

We can reasonably assume that FTN usage will follow a similar growth curve and will be in the hundreds of millions of authentications per year.  Increased availability at a lower cost means Finnish citizens can perform secure banking and other online transactions all from the comfort of wherever they happen to be – not standing in line waiting for their queue number to be called.

Across 2020 we will publish a number of blogs highlighting features, uses and functions of the Finnish Trust Network. So, stay tuned…