TechnologySeptember 15, 2022

Nerve: a Secure Basis for Edge Computing

Nerve node software runs on devices at the edge and the Nerve Management System runs in the cloud or on a local server.

The Nerve software platform serves as a secure foundation to manage software and devices in plants across the world. A lot of development time is being invested in testing to ensure Nerve is always up to date in terms of security.

Cybersecurity is highly relevant in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), as connectivity of machines/plants and sending data to the cloud and across the Internet increases potential risks for OEMs and end users. There are two dimensions to this connectivity – the cloud and the edge device, both of which need to be secured to protect data and minimize the risk for cyberattacks.

When it comes to the large cloud platform providers, we assume that they have mature cybersecurity in their platforms, but edge devices also have to play their part as they are where data is collected and often pre-processed before being forwarded to the cloud. There are a lot of things to consider – from legacy systems to data protection and access control issues.

“For our edge computing platform Nerve, we undertake massive cybersecurity efforts. This year, we are looking to certify our processes according to IEC 62443 and we have been implementing security features according to IEC 62443 level 2 and, in part, also for level 3 from the very beginning. And by the middle of next year, we are aiming to have a security certification for Nerve,” says Herbert Hufnagl, Member of the Executive Board and General Manager, TTTech Industrial.

Nerve 2.5.0: Improved user experience and system usability

TTTech Industrial’s modular edge computing platform Nerve supports machine builders and system integrators in their digitalization journey. Nerve is built as an open and modular system because industry and customer requirements differ, and the digitalization of machines or factories is not a task that can be accomplished overnight. Feedback from customers using Nerve in their plants and for different use cases is considered to further optimize user experience and features for the needs of today’s industrial environments. The latest update, Nerve 2.5.0, includes updates for easier handling of workloads and remote connections in the tool, as well as improvements in security and system stability and for the user interface (UI).

Nerve includes a range of basic security features: All connections in Nerve are secured using TLS and there is regular penetration-testing on the platform. TTTech Industrial’s software processes are implemented according to the industrial standard IEC62443 and Nerve provides a Role-Based Access System, so administrators have full control over the individual user access rights to the Management System. With Nerve 2.5.0, the Management System and the Local UI now also have brute force login protection in place. This helps to reduce the risk of unauthorized access in a cyberattack.

A second focus in Nerve 2.5.0 was on user experience and user interfaces, especially on features for configuring workloads and managing remote connections and edge nodes in the Nerve Management System. This is the central hub for accessing, managing, and updating devices and can be hosted either in the cloud or on a local server.

Technology report by TTTech Industrial