August 27, 2020

German Edge Cloud: “IDS-ready” – a milestone on the way to IDS certification

Bernd Fondermann is Product Owner Trusted Supplier Connector at German Edge Cloud. In his first blog article, he illustrated why sharing data across the entire supply chain is a crucial requirement for doing business successfully. The second article in our series on German Edge Cloud deals with how the Trusted Supplier Connector became IDS_ready.
Bernd Fondermann

The IDS architecture allows companies to share and exchange data within a secure and trustworthy virtual data space, and to unambiguously define the purpose this data is used for by those entitled to use it. This means that each IDS participant decides for itself who is allowed to view its data, who is allowed to use it, how it may be used, and what it costs to do so. And this is exactly what is achieved by ONCITE, German Edge Cloud’s solution ensuring data sovereignty for each participating party. ONCITE is a compact computing center that is based on edge cloud technology. It allows fast, easy and secure digitalization of business processes. German Edge Cloud is one of the first companies to launch an “IDS-ready” service.

The IDS (International Data Spaces) initiative, which originated from Fraunhofer, is being led and continuously developed further by IDSA (International Data Spaces Associ­ation). German Edge Cloud, a subsidiary of Friedhelm Loh Group, is a member organization of IDSA.

German Edge Cloud’s IDS Connector

German Edge Cloud has developed its version of an IDS Connector as the central user interface monitoring and controlling any data exchange transaction executed over ONCITE. The solution’s “Trusted Supplier Connector” (TSC) allows users to request information on the interfaces and data formats specified for an upcoming data exchange transaction. After the transaction, they can use the “Trusted Execution Environment” for on-site data evaluation in order to make the data ready for being used by their own or by OEMs’ systems. Using auditable, secure channels provided by the TSC, the results can then be transmitted to third parties also, such as OEMs or product manufacturers.

“IDS-ready“ – what does it mean?

“IDS-ready“ is a preliminary stage of IDS certification. The IDS certification process is currently under development and will be available by the end of the year. IDS certification will be based on a set of criteria (so-called “controls“), which altogether make up a comprehensive checklist covering different aspects of the software to be certified (in the case of German Edge Cloud: the Trusted Supplier Connector, TSC). To pass IDS certification, the software must meet all criteria specified. In addition, the checklist comprises criteria that do not refer to the software, but to the IT environment the TSC is embedded in and the organizations manufacturing and operating the TSC (this is comparable with a ISO 27001 or C5 certification).

How did German Edge Cloud’s Connector become “IDS-ready”?

For the “IDS-ready” check, the TSC was validated against each control specified on the checklist during a number of workshops conducted by Fraunhofer FOKUS (Fraunhofer Institute For Open Communication Systems), involving other members of IDSA as well. The workshop participants investigated which criteria on the checklist were met by German Edge Cloud’s IDS Connector, and which required further consideration. In parallel, German Edge Cloud developed a conceptual document reflecting all the requirements of the examination process. At the end of this process, after all controls were found to be fully met by the TSC, a full-blown “IDS-ready” concept was available for German Edge Cloud. Fraunhofer FOKUS then recommended IDSA to grant German Edge Cloud’s TSC an “IDS-ready” rating (which is valid for one year).

Benefit for German Edge Cloud‘s customers

With ONCITE and the TSC being “IDS-ready”, German Edge Cloud grants full data sovereignty to all its customers devoted to secure and trustworthy data exchange. IDS certification of German Edge Cloud’s solution is now not far away. The IDS ecosystem supports the buildup of a European data infrastructure allowing secure digitalization across all indus­tries – as promoted by Gaia-X, the European digitalization project led by Germany and France. German Edge Cloud is one of the initiators of Gaia-X, which was officially launched last year by Peter Altmaier, Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Author: Bernd Fondermann
Bernd Fondermann is Product Owner Trusted Supplier Connector at German Edge Cloud.

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