Strengthening the EU’s telecommunications backbone
Data communication network service – sTESTA
When is this action of interest to you?
You would like to implement an information system to exchange data between European and national administrations. The security and availability of the data are especially important to you. The sTESTA network meets your needs.
What is this action about?
Modern telecommunications are central to ensuring that public administrations across the EU can exchange information and provide essential services to business and citizens.
In 1996, for the first time EU Institutions and agencies were interconnected with Member States. This was done through the network Trans European Services for Telematics between Administrations (TESTA), set up under IDA, a predecessor programme of ISA.
Today, its successor, the sTESTA network service – which stands for secured Trans European Services for Telematics between Administrations – provides a European backbone network for data exchange between a wide variety of public administrations. The network uses the Internet Protocols (IP) to ensure universal reach, but is operated by the EU Commission separately from the Internet. It provides guaranteed performance, high levels of security and has connections with all the EU Institutions and national networks. It caters for the exchange of both unclassified and classified information.
The network is used by a wide number of European Commission Directorates-General as well as many other European Institutions and agencies. The sTESTA network is also used in the context of non-community projects by Member State administrations or organisations acting on their behalf.
Moreover, the sTESTA framework is extensively used by the EU Commission’s Justice Directorate-General for the implementation of the SIS II network and by EUROPOL for the implementation of their own dedicated EUROPOL network.
The sTESTA approach is collaborative and builds on national efforts to establish national, regional or local administrative networks by forging these in to a trans-European network.
The European Commission’s Informatics Directorate-General (DG DIGIT), which is responsible for network infrastructure services at the Commission, has organisational and contractual control over the execution of the sTESTA contracts.
The sTESTA network is controlled and supported by a central support and operation service and is responsible for all operational issues, including the security management of encryption devices.
What are the objectives?
Continued development of the sTESTA network services, with a focus on:
- improved connectivity;
- consolidating existing data networks independently managed by other institutions or European bodies;
- enhancing security;
- provision of a single support infrastructure for troubleshooting, alert management and reporting;
- providing assistance services dedicated to control and auditing of the operational networking services;
- providing a catalogue of services that allows application owners to order security services for the accreditation of their classified information systems; and
- adding additional generic services, depending on new requirements.
What are the benefits?
- Preventing proliferation of uncontrolled networks. Access to a secure trans-European network service for data exchange.
- Access to a secure trans-European managed network service for data exchange with specific availability or security requirements.
- Avoiding the unnecessary implementation of costly shadow network infrastructures.
- Enabling use in the context of a non-Community project by Member States’ administrations or organisations acting on their behalf, stimulating reuse of an existing infrastructure.
- Protecting personal data on the network.
What are the next steps?
The migration of the sTESTA network to TESTA-ng was initially planned to end by December 2014. However, the migration has been delayed. February 2016 is now envisaged as the end of migration date.
‘The connection of our national and regional administrative network (Red SARA) with sTESTA channels the traffic together with cross-border services under the condition of technical and economic rationality. sTESTA allows our departments and government entities to save on the costs of ad hoc independent links with other European administrations. sTESTA is used in at least 21 services, by 16 entities and in 18 sectors. Four of these services correspond to multilateral initiatives of interest to Spain in the field of interior, justice and social security. Furthermore, sTESTA is used as a reference for the Red SARA network regarding policies, technological options, infrastructure, services and security measures.’