research & development


A cybersecurity framework to GUArantee Reliability and trust for Digital service chains

Protecting ICT services from cyberattacks

The growing adoption of fully digital workflows is boosting the creation of a digital market for products, services and infrastructures. However, the composition of heterogeneous information and communications technologies (ICT) from different vendors makes digital processes and transactions at risk of cyber-attacks.

The EU-funded GUARD project aims to fill the technological and procedural gap between legacy cybersecurity models and novel computing and networking paradigms, by developing an innovative platform for the protection of digital business chains that encompasses two main dimensions: service integrity and data sovereignty.

The project fosters the integration of security capabilities into each digital component, and orchestrates them to improve visibility over vulnerabilities, attacks, and private data. Validation and stakeholder engagement will happen in industrial and medical use cases.


Evolving business models are progressively reshaping the scope and structure of ICT services, with massive introduction of virtualization paradigms and tight integration with the physical environment. Several market forces are already driving towards the creation of multi-domain and complex business service chains, which undoubtedly bring more agility in service deployment and operation but introduce additional security and privacy concerns that have not been addressed in a satisfactory way yet.

Tackling conflicting trends in the cybersecurity market, like fragmentation or vendor lock-ins, GUARD will develop an open and extensible platform for advanced assurance and protection of trustworthy and reliable business chains spanning multiple administrative domains and heterogeneous infrastructures. The purpose of GUARD is manifold: i) to increase the information base for analysis and detection, while preserving privacy, ii) to improve the detection capability by data correlation between domains and sources, iii) to verify reliability and dependability by formal methods that take into account configuration and trust properties of the whole chain, and iv) to increase awareness by better propagation of knowledge to the humans in the loop.

The distinctive approach of GUARD will be the architectural separation between analysis and data sources, mediated by proper abstraction; this paradigm will result in an open, modular, pluggable, extendable, and scalable security framework. This holistic solution will blend security-by-design with enhanced inspection and detection techniques, raising situational awareness at different levels of the companies’ structure by tailored informative contents, so to enable quick and effective reaction to cyber-threats. Demonstration and validation in two challenging scenarios is envisioned to bring the technology to an acceptable level of maturity, as well as direct involvement of relevant stakeholders for concrete business planning.

GUARD has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Grant Agreement no 833456.


H2020-EU.2.1.1. – INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP – Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies – Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)


SU-ICT-01-2018 – Dynamic countering of cyber-attacks


15 participants are involved in the project from all over the European Union.
Project Information

Funded by

European Commission




Smart Security


Ongoing project

Start date

End date

1 May 2019
30 April 2022
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