Specialization in digital security
At Automation Region's webinar on June 23th, we met the member company PrimeKey, which showed how IT systems can be connected to the operational production environment. Proven technology in digital security is the basis for new applications, where it is possible, for example, to assign digital identities to products already in the manufacturing process.
PrimeKey develops hardware and software for digital identities and signatures. The solutions are based on Public Key Infrastructure, PKI, which is the dominant standard for handling encryption keys on the Internet and within IoT. With the help of PKI, users in a public network can exchange encrypted data securely.
– PKI has been used for a long time to guarantee security in applications such as passports and banking, says Malin Ridelius, Product Marketing Director at PrimeKey. The basic technology is also useful for connection and data transfer in the industry because it is very secure and also scalable to large volumes.
IoT enables connection of production equipment, sensors, materials and products. This means, for example, that a process can be controlled remotely, or that collected data can form the basis for predictive maintenance. However, the connection increases the business's vulnerability and the challenge is being able to handle large amounts of data in a secure way.
– We work, for example, with insulin pumps that can be connected and handled remotely, says Malin Ridelius. They must be able to offer various services that are specific to the user and they must be able to collect data where certain parts are sent to local care providers while other parts can be used by international research groups.
Over the past year, PrimeKey has developed a PKI solution that makes it possible to issue digital identities on the factory floor, directly during production. Being able to assign identities in the manufacturing process creates great advantages in one's own production, but in the long run can also be something that customers demand and that will be included in new standards.
– In the smart industry, all actors must take responsibility for the security of their ecosystem, says Andreas Philipp, Business Development Manager at PrimeKey Labs. They must ensure that they communicate with approved senders who have the right to, for example, give commands that control a process. They must also be able to guarantee that the data transmitted cannot be altered or damaged.
PrimeKey is a Swedish-owned company with about 90 employees and offices in Solna, USA, Australia and Germany. The business started in 2002 as an open source project and the company is still working on a community version alongside a licensed software. Since 2016, PrimeKey is a member of the Automation Region.