FIONA remote access system
The FIONA remote access system is a data secure environment for processing research data for unit-level data needed in research, such as Statistics Finland's micro data.
The use of FIONA is usually agreed upon in connection with a user licence application. The use of FIONA is subject to a charge.
Use of micro data in FIONA
The researcher opens a secure connection (e.g. VPN) to FIONA on a server administered by Statistics Finland. The remote access must be established via the organisation that has signed the remote access agreement.
Working in FIONA takes place via the desktop that opens in the browser window. FIONA is a closed system, which means that no information is transferred between the user and the environment except for the display image and keyboard and mouse input.
Research results and other material may be transferred outside the system only through a screening process. The screening ensures that no individuals or businesses can be identified from the published data.
In addition to Statistics Finland’s data, data from other authorities can also be combined in FIONA in the same environment. The calculation and storage capacity of FIONA is available as needed. FIONA also contains several analysis programmes, such as STATA, R and Python.
More detailed instructions for use can be found in the adjacent file: Using the FIONA remote access system (PDF)
Logging in to FIONA
Logging in to the remote access system requires the use of federated identification services, of which the following are in use
- Government identification service
Service maintenance and invoicing
The technical management of FIONA is the responsibility of the CSC – IT Center for Science, which is administered by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Technical support requests are addressed directly to the CSC in accordance with the Support Portal guidelines.
The use of the system is billed in accordance with the price list of the Research Services.
Applications in FIONA
The following applications are installed by default when a new machine is set up.
|Software||Old version||Version for machines set up after 9/2022||More information|
|Adobe Acrobat Reader DC||19.012.20036||22.003.20263|
|Google Chrome||76.0.3809.132||105.0.5195||Google Chrome Enterprise 107.0.5304.107
|R||3.6.3 ja 4.0.5||4.0.5 ja 4.2.1|
|LibreOffice||188.8.131.52 30 (Build:1)
|R||4.2.1||CRAN library packages available|
How can one become a remote user of research data?
Organisation agreement on remote access use of research data
In order for a researcher to be able to work in the remote access system, the researcher’s organisation must conclude a remote access agreement with Statistics Finland. In connection with the processing of a user licence application, the Research Services supply to the customer for filling in the organisation agreement on remote access use.
The customer is responsible for that the premises used by researchers are suitable for research and remote use and that data can be processed there so that the data protection of the data is not endangered. Statistics Finland must have the possibility to view the customer's work premises.
Remote access commitment
Each remote user must submit the user-specific remote access commitment to Statistics Finland before starting the remote access use.
Researchers can apply for a licence to use the remote access system from home or abroad (EU and non-EU countries whose level of data protection has been recognised as sufficient by the European Commission). For use from abroad, the research project must be connected with a Finnish organisation. In addition, it must be mentioned in the user licence for the research project that remote access use takes place abroad.
The customer organisation is responsible for their employees' remote work and remote work connection.
If the remote access location needs to be changed within Finland
The remote access commitment has been renewed on 22.6.2023. The new commitment does not ask for the address of the researcher's place of work. If your remote access commitment has been submitted after 22 June 2023, you do not need to submit a new remote access commitment if you change your remote access location within Finland.
Your remote access commitment is submitted before 22.6.2023
If you want to have access to remote access in Finland from an address or workstation not previously given by the remote access commitment, you must submit a new remote access commitment. You can submit a new remote access commitment at Statistics Finland 's licensing service. You can start remote access use from the new address only when you receive a notification that the commitment has been accepted.
Opening remote access
Statistics Finland opens a connection to the remote access system from the IP addresses specified by the customer and provides instructions on how to use the remote access system.
Development Road Map
FIONA development road map for the next few years. The roadmap covers identified broad development targets for the next few years. Smaller development tasks are not shown in the roadmap.
Implementation of retrospective random checks of research output
- Users fill in the output request form in FIONA and the output can be obtained immediately based on the number of requests previously approved. Output requests are retrospectively subject to random checks in case of data protection breaches.
Implementation of the initial phase of the research project view
- An overview where the research project can see the overall situation of the project: users, user licences, data files, FIONA resources, status of commitments, etc.
Improving the production maturity of Linux machines
- Linux machines are already in production use, but as their use becomes more common there are development needs that need to be resolved.
Setting up a user community
- FIONA does not have a user community that could function as a sparring partner for development and partly also as a test user. Dialogue with users has been scarce. A small and representative group of users would improve interaction.
Scalability of computing capacity according to needs
- Research projects often involve stages in which there is no need for computing capacity at all, but at times the need is higher than FIONA can offer. The aim is to develop the utilisation of capacity according to the need in such a way that suitable virtual machines can be turned on and off in a flexible manner.
Management of source data rights
- Large research projects can have many users and source data. This raises the need to define the source data rights differently for different users within the project.
Application package distribution solutions
- As a closed environment, FIONA is challenging for applications that make use of packages installed from the Internet. Regarding Stata and Python, there is a need to find solutions where the packages can be imported, subject to certain restrictions, into FIONA by the users themselves, as is already the case with CRAN R.
Users’ self-management of capacity
- After finding solutions to the scalability of computing capacity, we must consider how users themselves can manage the capacity available for the project without communication with the Research Services and maintenance. A self-service type of solution is desirable.
Identifying possibilities for high performance computing
- Do users of FIONA have a need for high performance computing, and could it be integrated into the infrastructure?