Skip to Content Data Exchange Layer would also solve information security challenges of operators on the private sector

Publication date 20.11.2020 6.14 | Published in English on 20.11.2020 at 8.28
Press release

The Digital and Population Data Services Agency reminds that the Data Exchange Layer would provide a solution to the pressure surrounding the information security and register maintenance of private operators. The data from authorities belonging to hundreds of thousands of Finnish citizens pass through the service daily between different public organisations but the Data Exchange Layer can also be used by private organisations. The use of the Data Exchange Layer is free of charge.

After the data breach of the Vastaamo Psychotherapy Centre, the safe utilisation and storage of register data has been under a lot of discussion. The Data Exchange Layer would offer a solution to the problem. The Data Exchange Layer launched in 2015 and provides a standardised way of checking and transferring data between information systems and reduces individual operators’ need to maintain extensive registers. The service is also available to operators on the private sector.

In practice, the introduction of the Data Exchange Layer means that organisations providing services to the Data Exchange Layer and using them through it have been verified by the authorities when they have started using the service. This allows organisations to make available and access e.g. data from multiple patients, vehicle registers or professional rights data in a secure and reliable communication channel.

"The compatibility of information systems and current information security constantly challenge organisations and thus increase the costs of the systems. The introduction of the Data Exchange Layer would provide a number of organisations a clear way to manage data and a cost-effective and safe way of checking needed data from the authorities,” explains Atte Pirttilä, the Development Manager of the Data Exchange Layer at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.

Organisations performing statutory tasks are obligated to use the service. In other words, the Government's administrative authorities and agencies, institutions and enterprises as well as municipal authorities use the Data Exchange Layer to transfer data. Currently, the service is used by approximately 150 organisations. However, the use of the service could be expanded, especially in the private sector.

"On the private sector, the image of public sector services remains rigid and expensive. However, that is not true. The service has been implemented with the latest technology, ensuring reliable, real-time communication between systems. The use of the Data Exchange Layer is also free of charge for customer organisations. Each party is only responsible for their own integration and maintenance costs,” Pirttilä continues.

In particular, the social welfare and health care sector and the insurance sector could benefit from the service since on these sectors, the need to verify the customer's patient data, personal data or custody relationship is constant. It may take up to days for birth and death information to be updated in different registers, but the Data Exchange Layer simultaneously updates the data everywhere. When information systems are integrated to utilise the standard Data Exchange Layer, the amount of annual cost savings generated may be significant.

The Data Exchange Layer is based on the X-Road communication platform, which was originally developed in Estonia, and it was introduced in 2015. Finland and Estonia are developing the platform in collaboration, and in Finland the Digital and Population Data Services Agency is responsible for ensuring its national operational reliability, handling the quality control of its development and providing customer advice.

Additional information

Digital and Population Data Services Agency, Development Manager Atte Pirttilä
tel. +358 (0)295 535 285, firstname.lastname[at]