Taking control of digital security -- Cambridge Consultants develops new turnkey digital security platform
August 28, 2013 -- Companies can now secure their digital links with Trusted Source™ -- a new, cost-effective, easy-to-implement turnkey platform devised by product development firm Cambridge Consultants. It's an efficient way of allowing brand owners to give each of their products -- even low-cost ones -- a unique digital identity before they leave the manufacturer's production line. This kind of secure identification is becoming more important with the growth in "smart" devices which rely on being able to connect securely to digital services such as healthcare apps.
As well as supporting this move towards the "Internet of Things", Trusted Source™ also enables digital security for a wide range of applications. These include coding for anti-counterfeiting and brand protection, establishing secure links for track-and-trace applications as well as smart devices, and simplifying wireless connection set-up.
Low-cost security techniques increasingly require sending secrets between a digital end point -- whether it's a factory testing station or a smartphone -- and a brand owner's database, often using untrusted internet connections. Cambridge Consultants has developed a turnkey solution which deploys the relevant key management software to both ends of a digital link, establishing end-to-end security from an enterprise data server to any number of business partners or devices including remote factories or suppliers.
The technology could be used to exchange data with a factory floor to retrieve anti-counterfeit codes, for example, or to monitor yield or output data. In a healthcare context it could be used to meet pharmaceutical packaging serialization regulations or for the secure exchange of clinical trials data. In mobile security, the technology could enable an end-to-end connection directly to the secure components in a smartphone -- and in "smart metering" and "smart home" environments it could be used for security "personalization" of devices.
"We developed Trusted Source™ because the end-to-end solutions we've been developing across our consumer, industrial and medical programs all required this core component," said Jon Edgcombe, leader of the software technologies group at Cambridge Consultants. "The traditional one-size-fits-all model for issuing digital certificates --generally used for one-way authentication on a web browser -- isn't the right tool for connected devices and online factories, which have fundamentally different security requirements.
"With product companies starting to run more digital services and becoming more capable of controlling their own roots of trust and security model, there are clear advantages to being able to customize your digital security to your needs. Our technology enables companies to have the tools and capabilities to control their own data flows, helping them comply with increasing privacy regulations, while increasing support for low-power devices as well as the variable quality internet connections often found in factory environments"
The Trusted Source™ system is typically integrated as part of a Cambridge Consultants product development. It provides a company with a pre-packaged Certificate Authority server system, software and hardware token components which can be issued to third-party factories for easy installation -- plus optional integration of a serialization module for identity issuance. This set-up gives overall control of security and operational cost savings to the brand owner, compared with the alternative of outsourcing to a third-party certificate provider, and then auditing and securely integrating with a factory's own IT system.
"As digital tasks become more complex, sending data securely between product locations is increasingly important to our clients, especially those supporting multiple factories producing millions of devices," said Edgcombe. "This design platform simplifies setting up secure links, whether for anti-counterfeit brand protection or enabling secured digital services. We can host the server side for smaller deployments -- which a number of our clients find beneficial when piloting a new connected product or digital system which needs to be secure -- or hand over the system to the client for full-scale deployments."
The design uses well-established security algorithms that can be implemented across a wide range of industries. The system can either be licensed as part of a product development or customized for deployment as fee-for-service work, depending on the overall product and digital service requirements.
About Cambridge Consultants
Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 400 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK) and Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, transport, energy, cleantech and wireless communications. For more information visit: www.CambridgeConsultants.com.
Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in innovation and high-tech engineering consulting which supports companies in the creation and development of their new products and services. With a staff of 20,000 employees in more than 20 countries, the Group generated revenues of €1,456m in 2012. For more information visit: www.altran.com.