Securing IT/OT Links for Low Power IIoT Devices: Design considerations for industry 4.0

Soujanya Mantravadi, Reto Schnyder, Charles Møller, Thomas Ditlev Brunø

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
156 Downloads (Pure)


Manufacturing is facing a host of new security challenges due to the convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) in the industry. This article addresses the challenges that arise due to the use of low power Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices in modular manufacturing systems of Industry 4.0. First, we analyze security challenges concerning the manufacturing execution system (MES) and programmable logic controllers (PLC) in IIoT through a selective literature review. Second, we present an exploratory case study to determine a protocol for cryptographic key management and key exchange suitable for the Smart Production Lab of Aalborg University (a learning cyber-physical factory). Finally, we combine the findings of the case study with a quality function deployment (QFD) method to determine design requirements for Industry 4.0. We identify specific requirements from both the high-level domain of factory capabilities and the low-level domain of cryptography and translate requirements between these domains using a QFD analysis. The recommendations for designing a secure smart factory focus on how security can be implemented for low power and low-cost IIoT devices. Even though there have been a few studies on securing IT to OT data exchange, we conclude that the field is not yet in a state where it can be applied in practice with confidence.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Access
Pages (from-to)200305-200321
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2020


  • Internet of Things
  • Information security
  • Manufacturing systems
  • Information systems
  • Manufacturing operations management
  • Manufacturing flexibility
  • Cyber-physical systems
  • Industrial cybersecurity
  • Smart factory


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