January 31, 2020

Blog postIdentity Authority ManagerIoT & IIoT securityManufacturing

Why digital identities are important for Smart Manufacturing 

IIoT Security

When Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) were separate worlds and hardly communicated with each other, there was no need to provide components in manufacturing environments with a digital identity. This has changed with approaches such as the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. Now, for example, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions from providers such as SAP, Oracle and Salesforce as well as big data & analytics programs have access to data generated by machines, gateways and sensor based systems. In addition, companies and their manufacturing environments are no longer "islands". The trend is towards distributed production environments involving multiple stakeholders—for example, suppliers, partner companies and customers in different regions or countries. Another factor is that third-parties are given access to manufacturing environments in the context of Industry 4.0 and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) concepts. This can be the manufacturer of a tool needed in the factory or a maintenance and service company. This is because applications such as predictive maintenance require external partners to be able to read and analyze data from machines. Only then are they able to carry out maintenance work proactively. These trends force the boundaries between IT and OT to become transparent. Bridging is happening between the two areas.

The role of digital identities

IoT and Industrial IoT solutions require that digital components know each other and trust each other. This can only be achieved if each system is given a digital identity. Ideally, this is done directly during production of the individual components. A digital identity includes attributes—serial numbers, for example—that can be used to identify control units of a machine tool, a smart meter etc.  It is necessary today to track the entire lifecycle of a product, from manufacture, transport and use to disposal and recycling. This enables manufacturers to provide products with new software versions and patches throughout their entire life cycle. This is partly done "over the air", i.e. via radio connections. Furthermore, it is precisely the networking and accessibility of control units or measuring systems that makes new business models possible. Models such as on-demand upgrades for temporary activation of higher speeds or consumption-based billing of machine output are possible in principle. The basis of these business models is a unique identity of the machine and the sensor, combined with the customer’s confidence that no manipulation has taken place. Digital identities, using certificates, in smart and secure supply chains is also becoming the de-facto standard for (Industrial) Internet of Things. In this technical webinar, you will be provided with some of the best practices for using PKI, certificates and code/package signing in an IoT solution, including the complete IoT device lifecycle from cradle to the grave.

Want to know more about security for IIoT?

PrimeKey is a pioneer in open source PKI and signing security software that provides businesses and organizations around the world with the ability to implement secure IoT and IIoT solutions in the healthcare industry, for smart factories, to secure supply chains and more.

Our white paper about security for IIoT environments is available here: Security for IIoT environments

Attend our webinar to learn the best practices for using PKI, certificates and code/package signing in an IoT solution: Webinar – Protecting IoT devices from cradle to grave

Malin Ridelius


Malin Ridelius

Malin Ridelius joined PrimeKey in March 2018 as Product Marketing Director. Malin has been working in product management/marketing and business development roles at several security companies including Giesecke & Devrient, HID Global and Nexus. She has 20 years’ experience in PKI, digital identities and electronic signatures, smart cards and related solutions. Contact Malin: malin.ridelius@primekey.com