Topic: Protecting Industry 4.0 Assets In The IoT
Protecting Industry 4.0 Assets In The IoT
Device security in Industry 4.0 requires a multi-layered approach to protect all communications and provide “always-on” connectivity.
IoT technology is central to Industry 4.0 in applications ranging from indoor asset location awareness and consignment inventory management to retail item tracking and full 360˚ track and trace processes. Hardware or device-based security in these and other applications is often neglected. This is particularly dangerous as the industry seeks to control processes using commercial smartphones, which may have vulnerable security mechanisms. Inadequate device security can compromise Industry 4.0 operations in many directions, from allowing counterfeits to enter the supply chain to compromising the integrity and reliability of operations.
Solving these and other IoT challenges requires a multi-layered approach to secure all communications between system elements and provide trust and permanent connectivity to each.
Indoor Location Awareness
Many organizations need to track the precise location of assets within their facilities in real-time. These items can be robots on the shop floor, high-value and critical subcomponents, or manufacturing tools on the assembly line.
Some items are needed periodically, and on-demand, but many items are delivered throughout the facility on a regular basis and on a strict schedule. Managers need to know the location of an asset at any point in its journey, including confirmation that it arrived safely at its destination when expected. In many cases, alerts need to be triggered if certain assets are not in a permitted zone.
Indoor location tracking systems make this possible, as long as every element of the system is always connected and available. The system must offer near-perfect accuracy in providing asset location updates wherever they are, regardless of facility size or configuration. They must also ensure 24/7 availability so organizations can be certain of the location of any asset, at any time. They should accommodate items of any size; even the smallest items can be extremely valuable and there can be hundreds of them to track down. Finally, particularly in situations where assets are in publicly accessible areas, system security to prevent unauthorized eavesdropping is critical.
Indoor location tracking is often integrated into shipping inventory management systems to improve visibility for both the supplier and the buyer.
Consignment Inventory Management
A common Industry 4.0 supply chain strategy is for the supplier to provide assets to a consignee for sale. The sender remains the owner of the product and the recipient pays for it only after it has been sold. This consignment inventory business model offers an effective way to reduce operating costs and stimulate business growth. Ownership of the product remains with the seller until the product is sold.
A great example is tracking hospital equipment to improve visibility and prevent stockouts, especially for critical assets. Administrators can use Industry 4.0 IoT solutions to manage hospital consignment inventory that providers ship to facilities, but only bill when the product or associated equipment and consumables are used.
The technology automates the ordering and billing processes. It can also enhance security so that, for example, the lot number, serial number, and firmware revision of a surgical robot component can be monitored to ensure it is up-to-date and authentic before use. Alerts can be set so that the component is not used in the event of a product recall, or the product can get real-time firmware updates while in the hospital prior to use.
However, for this model to work, both the supplier and the buyer need maximum visibility into this consigned inventory. In addition, they need confidence that storage, usage, ordering, and billing are timely and secure. Each consigned inventory item must be authenticated as it is a potential counterfeit in the supply chain. The system must eliminate vulnerabilities that hackers use in any IoT system to attack connected devices or the core network, or to disrupt the reliable operation of asset tracking systems. You must also prevent unauthorized persons from gaining access to the status of the consigned inventory.
Retail Item Tracking
Real-time asset tracking solutions improve inventory management visibility as products move from shipper to receiving dock, to retail shelf, and ultimately to the register and into the hands of a customer.
For example, the same secure identification and wireless detection systems used in pharmaceutical manufacturing, food safety, and industrial control can, for example, ensure that high-value consumer products are accurately accounted for all the way to the point of sale.
These systems can also be used to identify the product that has returned from the customer or retail shelf to the distribution channel or to implement wireless firmware updates for electronic products while they are still on the retail shelf. They also help retailers conduct product recalls for specifically identified lots.
Solutions like these benefit both vendors and their retail partners, making it easy to know the location status of any item and other details faster and more accurately. They allow product providers to get real-time inventory status on the retail shelf and thus help minimize stockouts.
There are many situations where additional knowledge of the state of items is required. This includes going beyond simply collecting an item’s lot and serial numbers and expiration dates to ensure the item has been held to temperature and other environmental requirements. This requires a 360˚ track and trace capability.
360˚ Track And Trace
In the past, visibility across the cold supply chain, from chilled production to temperature-controlled storage, distribution and other logistics processes, has been limited. But now there are secure identification and wireless detection solutions that enable verification of the product journey from start to finish, from production to consumption. For example, these solutions enable cold chain or environmental compliance for foods or drugs throughout their journey from manufacturing to transportation and delivery to ensure they meet stringent moisture, temperature, and other requirements. transport and storage environment.
Smartphone control is an important feature. As an example, users on the shop floor can employ a secure mobile app and cloud platform to monitor and protect individual items as they move through manufacturing and packaging to the warehouse and beyond, reducing waste and improving profitability and maintaining product integrity. These solutions also come into play later in the product journey, improving collections and customer satisfaction, speeding the path to corrective action when needed, and accurately assigning responsibility for non-compliant shipments.
The latest solutions do not require expensive proprietary hardware. Instead, they may rely on disposable and recyclable Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) or Bluetooth Low Energy tags that are placed inside the package and activated with a touch. These tags can also incorporate environmental sensors for 360˚ track and trace. Truck drivers and inspectors then place their smartphone near the item at every step of the product’s journey to collect data, spot problems in transit, share real-time data dashboards and analysis, and create comprehensive post-shipment reports. Delivery.
Protection of Industry 4.0 Systems in the IoT
Today’s IIoT-based Industry 4.0 systems require multiple layers of protection, especially when using smartphone apps for command and control.
The first layer of protection focuses on the communication channel between the smartphone app, product, asset, or another connected device, and the cloud. Each of these elements is vulnerable to malware and cybersecurity attacks from wireless channels, among other threats. Communications channel protection ensures the integrity and reliability of all communications between each element of the system and the cloud, minimizing cybersecurity risks to prevent rogue actors from accessing item data. Protecting Industry 4.0 Assets In The IoT.
The second layer of security establishes a root of trust in each element of the system. It employs cryptographic digital identities and mutual authentication to validate the integrity of each user, smartphone app, product, consumable and associated devices, and the cloud. This gives confidence to each element before it works with any of the others. Options for user authentication, include biometric identification of the phone, such as face or fingerprint.
Depending on the item, software or hardware can be used to establish the root of trust. For example, during the manufacture of products and their consumables, hardware security modules (HSMs) can be used to provide these two elements with cryptographic keys and digital certificates so that they behave as secure elements in the system.
The third layer of security ensures seamless connectivity that is critical for data exchange, over-the-air firmware updates, issuing alerts, and ensuring that critical inventory status for all items is always available. It is also critical to ensuring continuous location awareness and often includes the use of communication gateways where necessary so that each tagged item can be tracked anywhere in the facility within a distance of no more than 5 meters, even in multi-story buildings that span thousands of feet. . This combination of software, labels, and gateways solves the toughest retail inventory management problems quickly and at a minimal cost.
Solutions with these multiple layers of security can be deployed in a modular fashion to meet a wide range of application scenarios using third-party software development kits. The approach also makes it possible to adapt strong security measures into legacy designs and infrastructures and continually improve them, up to and including incorporating HSMs later in a solution’s lifecycle to optimize how layer root of trust is implemented. of application.
Organizations now have everything they need to significantly improve device security and authenticity, while adding a small incremental cost to a variety of automated Industry 4.0 processes, from indoor location-aware solutions to data management. of consignment inventory, retail item tracking and 360° track and trace solutions.