In close collaboration with RHEA System S.A. and other European industry partners, Guardtime will participate in the provision of security engineering services required by the ESA’s first Cyber Safety and Security Operational Centre (C-SOC) Phase 1. The C-SOC is a security operation centre specifically designed and optimized for the space sector. It will monitor the Information Technology (IT) and Operations Technology (OT) domains for the space mission operations of ESA and assist the monitored entities in security incident response. The main mission of the C-SOC Phase 1 is to identify a preliminary architecture and high-level requirements for the C-SOC.

Space infrastructure plays a key role in ESA Member States’ economy and security. Within this security framework, it is ESA’s responsibility as global space leader to ensure secure and controlled development environments, in order to build and protect its space systems and be able to guarantee confidentiality, integrity and availability of information. Regarding vulnerabilities, it has long been understood that space operations take place in an environment with unique challenges. Space operations are becoming increasingly dependent on the use of IT/OT-based systems making them highly complex and vulnerable to cyber attacks. Thus, the need to establish effective methods to detect and counter a diversity of increased threats to space assets is undeniably important and urgent.

Through the design, deployment and operations of a multi-platform distributed Cyber Security Operations Centre, ESA aims to develop, integrate and validate a set of security technologies and measures focused on creating a secure environment to develop and operate critical space systems. Applying IT/OT-based SOC capabilities to Space Mission operations and related ground segments is still considered a niche market and ESA wants to enable industry to develop this capability in its Member States and establish it as a standardised practice in its operations.

Marika Popp, Head of Space Solutions at Guardtime:

"Participating in the Phase 1 of the future C-SOC provides Guardtime a unique opportunity to extend its cybersecurity expertise and technologies into the space domain to further improve our knowledge of the specific cyber vulnerabilities that arise in various space operations. Space is the new frontier in cyber security and assisting a global space player such as ESA in combating security risks derived from cloud and automation of space operations helps to increase global awareness of the space cybersecurity challenges."

To enable ESA in achieving its cybersecurity vision, Guardtime brings a deep understanding of security operations processes derived from both team-based operational experience and through development and delivery of operations exercise training events involving diverse critical infrastructure sectors. Guardtime’s contribution also builds upon its prior experience in the space cyber security sector with designing and developing space data security solutions.

Its former initiatives include Earth observation data provenance solutions related to mission control and EO data archives, and the use of distributed ledgers and blockchains in ground station and mission control to enhance security and trust. This diversity of Guardtime’s security operations background will provide a solid basis for development of the C-SOC operational concept as one the most critical outcomes of the C-SOC Phase 1.

The activity is carried out under a GSTP programme and funded by the European Space Agency. The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.