What Is a Digital Twin

What Is a Digital Twin – A Comprehensive Guide

As the digital landscape has been evolving at an extraordinary pace over the past decades, the world has seen the emergence of new solutions and technologies that reshape our way of interacting with the world. Digital Twin technology is at the forefront of this impactful shift.

Let’s take an example – University of Tartu Academic Satellite project . The project, funded by the European Union and Enterprise Estonia, aims to understand the behavior of space satellites with respect to cyber security. 

The challenge is to track the satellite’s progress at such a massive scale, and that’s where digital twins are extremely useful. With the help of CybExer Technologies, they were able to create the exact replica and test different scenarios before the launch. 

Cyber Security in space is a completely new topic that requires a lot of attention, and the role of digital twin technology is vital in this process of making our cyberspace safe. 

This is one of the examples of how digital twins can be helpful. They let organizations create replicas of their system networks, helping them detect areas of improvement and run simulations to generate valuable insights about their systems. 

In this article, we will talk about what digital twin technology is, how it works, what are the different types of digital twins that organizations can choose from, and what are the secrets to ensuring security when it comes to this technology. 

What Is a Digital Twin?

A digital twin refers to a technology that allows organizations to virtually clone their network systems and create replicas so that they can train their teams and run simulations in a secure environment. 

Other than that, digital twins can also be used to create digital copies of physical products using data and simulation models, which help to replicate the real-world characteristics and behavior of the object. 

This technology has the ability to help an organization simulate various real-life environments. Generally, organizations use digital twins to monitor, analyze, and optimize the performance of physical counterparts in real time. 

The global digital twin industry is expected to reach $125.7 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 39.8%, with the clear objective in mind – to help organizations cut down costs and significantly reduce time and resources spent on production. 

How Does a Digital Twin Work?

Simply put, digital twins are designed to reflect a physical object and create a virtual representation of them. This technology can take any asset and replicate its functionality, features, and behavior in a way that feels real for users. 

Every time a digital twin wants to replicate an asset, it uses smart sensors that collect data from the product you want to simulate. 

After that, sensors analyze data about various parts of the asset’s performance. These parts can be temperature, conditions, energy output, or any other feature that is essential to the product. Then, it takes this data and applies it to the digital copy to make the simulation feel as realistic as possible.

At the same time, organizations can use digital twins to not only replicate their physical products but also to create replicas of their system networks as well. They can achieve this through the help of cyber range technology, which has the ability to build digital twins on an architecture level. 

This representation can be used across the whole lifecycle of the asset – from the initial prototype to the final version of the product. Organizations use these virtual models to study performance, think about possible improvements, and run simulations to generate valuable insights. 

Types of Digital Twins

Depending on the level of detail the organization needs for the virtual copy of an asset, they can choose between different types of digital twins. The biggest differentiating factor is in the field of the specific application. 

Let’s have a look at different types of digital twins and see what are the key factors for each one of them:

  • Component Twin

The component twin is the smallest example of a digital twin technology. It corresponds to a specific element of an asset, such as a valve, sensor, switch, etc. Organizations use this type of digital twins to monitor performance and test component’s stability and efficiency. 

  • Asset Digital Twin

When organizations need to test several components together, they use asset digital twins. This helps them understand how different parts and components can interact with each other. Organizations use the performance data gathered from this digital twin to get insights and think about the areas of improvement. 

  • System Twin

In case organizations need to check how different assets come together and form the functioning system, they use system twins. It gives a large-scale overview of the interaction of assets, helping organizations to test different configurations, achieve effectiveness, and learn about performance enhancements. 

  • Process Twin

The process twin represents the highest level of digital twins. They connect the system twins into one entity and show how systems work together and what are their levels of synchronization and collaboration. This way, organizations have a clear view of processes, allowing them to make deep analyses and optimize systems. 

What Are Network Digital Twins?

Network digital twin offers a safe approach to automation for 5G networks. It models everything that is perceived as an invisible network: coverage, signals, interference, and traffic behavior. This way, companies have a safe approach to process optimization for a number of sensitive parameters. 

Besides, network digital twins offer a simple approach for organizations to safely make software updates, run a new part of a system network, or train their teams in a new environment. 

Benefits of Using Digital Twins in Your Processes

There is a lot of value that digital twins bring to an organization. One of the most common benefits include significantly reduced time to market, as they allow organizations to efficiently detect errors and optimize products in the best possible way. This results in an improved product quality and a higher level of security. 

The most prominent benefits of using digital twins include:

  • Real-Time Monitoring

Generally, organizations have a problem getting a real-time overview of a large physical system that is already in production. In the case of digital twins, they can access their system anywhere and monitor its performance remotely. 

At CybExer Technologies, we have developed the Integrated Scoring and Awareness (ISA) solution to address this problem.

ISA solution provides near real-time visualization and comparison of exercise data. This solution can help understand which systems are under attack, how the adversary is moving through the network, and how well defenders are performing. 

This way, exercises are more highly transparent and easy-to-follow events for everybody. 

  • Better R&D

It is way more effective for organizations to conduct research and design products with the help of digital twins, as they provide insightful data about the product. With this information, companies can refine products and improve them before starting production, saving them time and budget throughout the process. 

For example, when we talk about satellites that are in space – it is immensely expensive, complex, and sensitive to perform any kind of operation on that spacecraft.

However, thanks to the digital twin technology, organizations can play different scenarios through, helping them to understand possible points of improvement and reach cyber excellence.

  • More Advanced Collaboration

Digital twins allow companies to have more automation and access to the system information, allowing team members to improve collaboration and approach their work more efficiently. 

The cyber security market is extremely fast-paced – there are hundreds of new solutions coming up every single month. 

Digital Twins provide perfect solutions for these kinds of startups, as they allow founders to test their ideas and prove that their solutions work, helping them find product-market fit more efficiently. 

CybExer Technologies has successful examples of working with these kinds of companies and helping them with the process. 

How Can Organizations Build Their First Digital Twins?

If an organization wants to implement digital twin in their operations, they need to make sure to have two main components for that:

  • High quality data infrastructure to deliver reliable data from testing and live environments.
  • In-house talent that can build and maintain the infrastructure.

There are all sorts of different companies twinning simple products and gaining real-time customer feedback through that. Once they establish an initial use case, then organizations are generally adding additional layers of information to improve and streamline processes. 

Organizations need to take a three step approach:

  • Step 1: Put together a blueprint – the first step is to define the type of twin an enterprise needs to build. It is also important to think about capabilities of a specific technology and their ownership structures. 
  • Step 2: Build a base technology – the next step is to take time to build a base digital twin. Usually, this process takes three to six months. Everything starts with assembling a core data product to enable visualization development and enable data scientists to think about the initial use cases. 
  • Step 3: Enhance capabilities – after the base technology is built, the organization can think about expanding capabilities and adding new data layers to support different use cases. This is the stage where advanced modeling techniques come into play.

On the other hand, organizations can utilize the power of cyber ranges to build their digital twins on an architecture level. It is important to keep in mind that Digital Twins are not only about physical products, but they can also create digital replicas of an organization’s system network as well.  

How to Ensure Digital Twin’s Security

In order to make sure your technology is secure and reliable, it is important to conduct penetration testing sessions on a regular basis. This will allow you to identify and address vulnerabilities before potential attackers will notice them. 

You can do this by running different cyber attack simulations on the digital twin systems and evaluating how they respond to those attacks. Running these tests will help you identify weaknesses and address them if needed. 

At the same time, it is essential for digital twins to be properly isolated from other networks and systems. This way, you limit the potential impact of a cyber attack on digital twins and prevent offenders from accessing sensitive data or systems. 

CybExer Technologies – Leading the Way to Cyber Readiness

In the ever-evolving digital environment, digital twins are constantly improving by acquiring new skills and capabilities. The future is limitless – digital twins will increasingly help organizations and generate insights for them to enhance their psystems and make processes more efficient. 

For this, companies and organizations worldwide must embrace innovative solutions like Cyber Range technology to empower teams and validate their ideas.  

CybExer Technologies has been a driving force in the cybersecurity landscape since 2016. Committed to enhancing global cybersecurity capabilities, CybExer offers an advanced Cyber Range platform, equipping enterprises with comprehensive training modules built to elevate their readiness against potential threats and attacks. 

If you’d like to learn more about our offering and products, schedule a call with our cyber range experts to discuss your organization’s needs.