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In 2016, the Industrial Internet Consortium gained agreement upon an understanding of the term “trustworthiness” and its effect on design and operation of an industrial system. At the core of that understanding was a definition of trustworthiness and the designation of five characteristics that define trustworthiness.

As defined by the IIC in its recently released Industrial Internet of Things Vocabulary v2.1 document: “Trustworthiness is the degree of confidence one has that the system performs as expected. Characteristics include safety, security, privacy, reliability and resilience in the face of environmental disturbances, human errors, system faults and attacks.”

Let’s take a deeper look at the 5 foundational characteristics at the core of trustworthiness:

  • Safety ensures that a system operates without causing unacceptable risk of physical injury or damage to the health of people. This protection of humans is focused either directly or indirectly, as the result of damage to property or to the environment.
  • Security protects a system from unintended or unauthorized access, change or destruction while Information Technology (IT) security ensures availability, integrity and confidentiality (AIC model) of data at rest, in motion or in use.
  • Reliability describes the ability of a system or component to perform its required functions under stated conditions for a specified period of time.
  • Resilience describes the ability of a system or component to prevent or at least reduce any serious impact of a disruption while maintaining an acceptable level of service.
  • Privacy protects the right of individuals to control or influence what information related to them may be collected and stored and by whom and to whom that information may be disclosed.

Achieving trustworthiness in industrial IoT systems requires recognition that a complex IoT system is comprised of subsystems and the integral components of the subsystems. The trustworthiness of the overall system depends upon the trustworthiness of each of the subsystems and each of the components, how they are integrated, and how they interact with each other. Trustworthiness must be pervasive in IoT systems, which means there must be trustworthiness by design and a means to achieve assurance that the trustworthiness aspects have been addressed properly. Permeation of trust is the flow of trust within a system from its overall usage down to its smallest components and requires trustworthiness of all aspects of the system. Trustworthiness requires ongoing effort over time as systems and circumstances change.

As such, the IIC Trustworthiness Task Group, in close cooperation with the IIC Security Working Group, is tasked to frequently enhance and redefine the definition and role of trustworthiness in industrial systems as the IIoT continues to evolve. Ultimately, their goal is to moves system designers from traditional safety thought processes into a new paradigm for system design that takes into consideration all 5 of the trustworthiness characteristics and their interactions within the system.  

You can read more about trustworthiness and its relationship with industrial systems and the convergence of IT/OT in the Fall 2018 issue of ICC’s Journal of Innovation.

By Marcellus Buchheit, Co-founder of Wibu-Systems AG and President and CEO of Wibu-Systems USA

This blog originally appeared as a Wibu-Systems Blog

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