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Perfection in Protection, Licensing, and Security

There is Nothing Discreet About IP Protection

April 2020
Author: med_wibu-systems
There is Nothing Discreet About IP Protection

Discrete manufacturing, and all of the supporting functions that go along with it, like inventory management, product lifecycle management, supply chain management and Enterprise Resource Planning, is undergoing a rapid and radical transformation driven by the Industrial IoT and the smart factory initiatives of Industry 4.0. Unlike conventional process manufacturing, where products are created with formulas and recipes to refine raw ingredients into the final product as is the case with pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and oils and paints, discrete manufacturing is integrating advanced automation, digitalization, and massive amounts of data and analytics to move the industry forward into the new era.

As the transformation continues, you can imagine the potential chaos on the factory floors – legacy machines, conveyors, forklifts and assembly workers alongside modern robotics, smart sensors, connected machines and highly skilled technicians required to enable and maintain the smart factories that rely on real time data to meet and adjust to the changing demands and conditions on the floor.

There are exciting times ahead as the digital transformation unfolds with all that human creativity and imagination can bring. But what about the Intellectual Property behind these new digital innovations, smart machines and processes? Who has access to the data that drives the proprietary production schemes? Can IP ownership be protected by trademarks and patents as inventors and industry have relied upon in the past?

For example, let’s take a look at the fledgling additive manufacturing industry. 3D printing is growing in its utility and is now being embraced in a number of industries, from healthcare to automotive and aerospace. The crux of the industry is the ability to produce third-party components on demand right in the factory in order to respond quickly to changing customer requirements and bypass what could be a time consuming and complex supply chain of the past. But there are many intertwined actors who all have a stake in the 3D printing process, and as such, the industry has been beset with issues such as print design theft, industrial espionage, counterfeiting and cyber-attacks. When one takes a holistic look at the process, it is clear that a system is needed to protect the design, underlying manufacturing data, and IP throughout the entire digital supply chain (see blog).

So how can smart industry protect its IP? What mechanisms are used to maintain the security of the machine-to-machine communications, protection of IP integral to the operations, and integrity of the PLCs, sensors and other connected devices used to run an efficient and profitable Industry 4.0 operation?

That’s the question I addressed during the popular Industrial Security Podcast hosted by Andrew Ginter and Nate Nelson of Waterfall Security Solutions.

In my detailed explanation, I focused on four key areas:

  • Software protection: Use of sophisticated encryption mechanisms with CodeMeter Protection Suite to protect IP from illegal copying, industrial espionage or counterfeiting.
  • License management: Automated creation, delivery and management of license entitlements where and when needed by CodeMeter License Central.
  • Secure key storage: Use of hardware containers (CodeMeter dongles), software containers bound to a specific fingerprint of the machine, and cloud containers to preserve digital keys in an extremely secure environment.
  • Certificate management: Use of CodeMeter Certificate Vault to manage the complexities of creating, managing, and allocating the digital keys and certificates required to build in trusted communications between devices and machines.

Listen to the entire interview and learn how Wibu-Systems CodeMeter technologies are used to address the security challenges required to harden the shop floor and protect stakeholders across the entire supply chain.

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