Leveraging on the knowledge and skills gained by participating in several security-related research projects as well as on the experience of its professionals, Zanasi & Partners provides its clients with the expertise and capabilities they require in order to meet their needs. The company’s advisory services have been delivered to government entities, public security agencies and large industrial groups based in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Listed below are some of the specific services included in Zanasi & Partners’ portfolio.
The EU has set several priorities in terms of security, including becoming ”a global leader in cybersecurity by 2025” (Tallinn Digital Summit in September 2017). The enormous expansion of the Internet occurred in the latest years, indeed, has not been matched by adequate improvements in terms of cybersecurity. Because of their exposure to the Internet, actors such as public organisations, private companies as well as individual citizens are now facing huge security risks. Moreover, ICT and digital technologies are becoming a critical pillar in basically every sector (from transport, to critical infrastructure management, healthcare, defence, etc.); therefore, cyber threats pose great risks to both citizens and the overall functioning of the society.
Z&P has taken this challenge and has been working to contribute to a safer cyber landscape. For instance, Z&P has collaborated with ENISA (European Agency for Network and Information Security), in the elaboration of measures for mitigating the cyber-security risks to which “smart” airports may be exposed. The company is also part of ECHO project dedicated to strengthening the proactive cyber defence of the European Union. Moreover, it is member of ECSO, a non-for-profit organisation – partner of the European Commission – whose main goal is to coordinate the development of the European Cybersecurity Ecosystem, to support the protection of European Digital Single Market and ultimately to contribute to the advancement of European digital sovereignty and strategic autonomy.
In this context, Z&P delivers cybersecurity services to private companies and public institutions, thus assessing their exposure to risk and providing valuable solutions to enhance the resilience of their systems and infrastructures. An expert team of engineers and computer scientists assists clients in the entire process, from the identification of the threats and security requirements to the definition of the acceptance threshold to the planning of the solutions. This method guarantees that the proposed solutions are tailored and truly meet the needs of the client.
Risk assessment is a fundamental precondition for effective risk management, as it represents the preliminary activity that identifies the risks, their entity and the acceptance level. The complexity of today’s environment, where activities are closely interconected, and risk has taken on new dimensions (eg. geopolitical, societal, etc.), has made risk assessment a critical activity for organisations. Z&P has developed its own methodology, built on the experience gained within the context of research projects funded by the European Commission (e.g. SECRET and THIS) and further consolidated through advisory activities in the fields of transportation (e.g. Algiers port and airport) and large industry (e.g. Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso). The methodology consists of specific steps:
The flexibility of its nature makes this methodology suitable and applicable to multiple sectors, from communication to healthcare, thus allowing Z&P to engage with diverse types of clients. In addition, this methodology permits to identify the typical vulnerabilities of a given sector, while spotting the specific shortcomings of risks linked to the feature of the involved organisation. The risk assessment performed by Z&P offers the client a comprehensive overview of the status of their organisation while illustrating possible solutions to manage the identified risks.
Although this sort of information extraction has always existed, the advent of the so-called “age of Big Data” threw down new challenges to Intelligence, as exploiting the value of the vast amount of available data requires a significant technological effort and the attraction of new and specific competencies and skills. This vast amount of available data itself represents at the same time a major opportunity and a tricky obstacle, as an increased volume of data at hand does not automatically imply an increased value or content of knowledge and may actually only introduce noise if not carefully handled and evaluated. Indeed, specific computation algorithms and techniques must be implemented to make sense of the data and reduce it to entities manageable by human minds.
Zanasi & Partners has developed a proprietary methodology for Intelligence through Data Mining of public sources, the Environment Intelligence Methodology, descending from years of engagements of the Company with its clients with specific and different needs and requirements, and from the study and development of different methodologies (CRISP-DM, DM process, IBM MT and BI). Zanasi & Partners’ president, Ing. Alessandro Zanasi, has a long-standing reputation as a scholar of Intelligence and Technology Forecasting: he cooperated in developing the IBM product for Technology Forecasting (“IBM Technology Watch”); he developed “Online Analyst”, a tool for Technology Forecasting capable to build automatic scenarios for IBM needs by retrieving information from online sources; he has published a variety of papers and books on this topic, such as:
The expertise of Zanasi & Partners in the field of Intelligence, and in particular in its application to the Defence field, is testified by its exploitation in the PYTHIA project (Predictive methodologY for TecHnology Intelligence Analysis, a Coordination and Support Action that has received funding from the European Union’s Preparatory Action for Defence Research Programme under the call PADR-STF-01-2017), whose main objective was to develop an innovative methodology for implementing Strategic Technological Foresight in the context of Defence.
EU Project Management
Several factors contributed to slow down Europe in exploiting its scientific, technological and industrial strengths. To overcome these shortcomings, the European Union has increased funding for research in this sector, by establishing a specific program (ESRP- European Security Research Program) and nominating two ad hoc committees: the European Security Research Advisory Board (ESRAB) and the European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF). These committees helped to steer the public-private dialogue in security research and to define research programmes, including Horizon2020 (H2020, launched in 2014) and Horizon Europe (operative from 2021 to 2027). Ing. Zanasi participated in both committees, thus gaining a comprehensive insight into EU priorities of the security – and later on – defence sectors.
Z&P team has taken advantage of this expertise, transferring it into its daily activities, i.e. EU project management. Indeed, the company is updated continuously on existing and upcoming opportunities at international and European level in the field of security and defence research. Moreover, thanks to the participation in several projects, Z&P team has gained excellent knowledge in proposal preparation, thus confidently navigating into proposal submission’s procedures. Leveraging on this expertise, Z&P now offers advisory services to entities (private companies or public institutions) that are willing to enter the world of EU project management. Advisory covers multiple areas, including:
The transport sector is one of the main targets of national and international terrorism. Trains and railway infrastructures as well as maritime and aerial transportation networks have been subject to a considerable number of attacks in recent history. Reducing this risk requires the ability to assess it via a proper risk assessment activity, performed in compliance with international regulations and best practices.
Zanasi & Partners can leverage a multi-year experience in the field of transport security, gained by working directly on railway systems, ports and airports of European countries and the Mediterranean area as well as through participation in several research projects addressing transport security, cooperation in international anti-terrorism/crisis management exercises and testing of new technologies related to border control. Such an experience has allowed Zanasi & Partners to develop its own methodology for assessing and reducing the terrorism risk and establish itself as an industry leader.
Protection against CBRN threats
Amongst the security risks that countries face nowadays, an extremely serious one concerns the potential use, by criminal or terrorist organisations, of so-called “dirty-bombs”: conventional explosive devices used to disperse radioactive materials. Mass transport hubs, as for example, ports and airports, represent highly sensitive targets, mainly because of the large number of persons they can gather in a restricted space, often indoor.
Since 2014, Zanasi & Partners has been collaborating with the port and the “Houari Boumediene” airport of Algiers with the purpose of building a detection capacity specific for radiological and nuclear threats. The work carried out so far has focused on requirement collection, design of a detection architecture, identification and evaluation of existing detection equipment as well as development of adequate response procedures.