As the threat of cybercrime and terrorism continues to grow, government agencies and companies are looking for new ways to safeguard the functionality of their systems and protect digital information of a sensitive nature. Product manager Mikko Paakkinen discusses how Efore’s Shielded System Infrastructure offers clients a robust and economical defence against such attacks.

What role does Efore play within the defence sector?
Mikko Paakkinen: Efore was established in 1975 and has a long history of producing demanding power products for telecoms, industrial and defence markets, and operating as a supplier to the Finnish Defence Forces. Our product portfolio consists of various NSN-coded rectifiers, inverters, converters and DC backup power systems products. Recent focus has been on command, control, communications and computers (C4) applications.

What industry trends have you noticed?
Cybersecurity threats are regularly discussed in the news and are causing governments to consider how they can handle classified information more carefully. To mitigate cyberthreats, communication within agencies is moving to isolated IT networks and, depending on the classification level, there are different requirements for mitigating risks. There are also threats that prevent communications either permanently or temporarily. Incidents could range from naturally occurring disasters, man-carried high-power-microwave (HPM) briefcases or high-altitude electromagnetic pulses (EMPs).

What is the Efore Shielded System Infrastructure (ESSI) and how does it offer clients protection?
ESSI is a solution for enabling high-security-level communications for a wide range of institutions at a reasonable cost. The cabinet’s shielding performance is pushed towards solutions that are normally built on site,
while it uses shielded room technologies such as copper spring gaskets for door, honeycomb waveguide cooling air entries, and EMP and radio frequency (RF) filtering for
all power and signal interfaces.
In addition to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and EMP shielding, cabinet mechanics are designed to have IP54-class environment protection, while at the bottom there is a raised base to aid in moving the pallet trolley and protecting it from 10cm flooding. It is also protected against intrusion by a robust electrical lock frame and hinges. In order to supply power to the electronics, there is a DC backup power system, which has the advantage of a long backup time. When required, we can also include batteries inside the EMP-protected cabinet. The level of the solution’s completeness is very high.

How is the system tailored for each individual customer?
Typically, each end user will have different requirements that need to be considered, and the customer will make choices about which of these are included and how the cabinet is configured. The system has a great deal of flexibility in terms of communication filtering, as at the rear of the cabinet there is a filter cavity with a great deal of adaptability. As an example, there could be a number of optical fibre cable feed-throughs, coaxial cable entries, ethernet or other high-speed communication filtering attached in the cavity.
The customer might also have varying requirements for electric supply. The integrated power system has a lot of freedom with regard to voltage and power distribution. There is also a lot of auxiliary equipment like fibre-optic trays, Krone trays and electric lock frames that can be provided on a per-project basis.
To what extent can the system offer clients cost-saving benefits?
One cost-saving aspect is the volume scalability. The ESSI product is already in mass production, so materials and design costs are already minimised, helping us to offer competitive procurement cost. In addition, if an organisation needs to move from one location to another, the ESSI system offers flexibility and adaptability, and could be reused in the new location.

What plans do you have to adapt the system in the future?
More and more, we’re expecting to see signalling move to fibre optics, and there are many commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) fibre-optic signal converters available that could be used, not just for networking protocols like transmission control protocol (TCP)/internet protocol (IP), but also serial communications and analogue signals. In addition, cabinet-shielding effectiveness could be increased to a level of 100dB up to 10GHz, with minimal communication filtering. This would open up new and interesting possibilities.