TNO’s data spaces software third in the world to be certified

Data sharing
13 March 2024

The International Data Spaces Association (IDSA) awarded TNO with the IDSA Certification Award for the TNO Security Gateway (TSG). This software is a connector that companies can use to participate in international data spaces, decentral platforms that allow for sovereign and secure data exchange. The certification means that the TNO Security Gateway is ready to be used by the market. It's only the third certified data space connector worldwide and is used in the first operating data space in the Netherlands, the Smart Connected Supplier Network (SCSN).

Future standard for exchanging data

International data spaces allow organizations to securely exchange data without the need for the data flows to run through centralized platform. As a result, the original owner always retains control of the data and sets restrictions and conditions on its use. These decentralized platforms are based on technical, legal and economic agreements to exchange open and private data securely and smoothly.

An example is the integration of (open) data on air quality with (private) data from medical records. Access for parties is possible thanks to a special gateway software component, the so-called connector, which can share data in a safe and trusted manner.

TNO Security Gateway

The connector developed by TNO enables companies to connect to a data space with minimal efforts. Like other connectors, the TSG adheres to the Reference Architecture Model (RAM) of the IDSA. A unique feature of the TSG is that it enables integration with existing services by means of specific data apps, using an abstraction of the Reference Architecture Model. The first lighthouse project where the TSG is being used is the Smart Connected Supplier Network (SCSN), an operating data space in the Netherlands with over 300 participants.

For most use-cases, using the connector out of the box will suffice, but in case special requirements are needed companies can modify the components as they wish. This is because the connector is available open-source with the Apache 2.0 license.

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"This certification is an important step towards an European standard for secure and independent data sharing. European companies can exchange data more easily and securely with standardized and interoperable data spaces. This way, there not entirely dependent on non-European Big Tech companies and their centralized platforms. Now it is up to the market to scale up and use the software for their own applications."

Mike de Roode


Important step

Certification is an important step in the adoption of data spaces, because security is essential in trusted data sharing. It enables the improvement of trust in the connectors, because independent third parties have validated the security requirements that are needed for trusted and secure data sharing. This means companies do not have to rely on only the developer or maintainer of the component, but they can be assured that the connector adheres to the security standards that are vital for secure and trusted data sharing.

The certification process was done in collaboration with Software Quality Systems (SQS), an official IDSA Evaluation Facility. A second round of compliance checking was done by Fraunhofer and IDSA. TNO’s software is only the third certified data space connector worldwide. Finnish research organization VTT and service provider T-systems were the first ones to obtain IDSA certification for their connectors.

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