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NISTIR 8356 (Draft)

Considerations for Digital Twin Technology and Emerging Standards

Date Published: April 2021
Comments Due: June 16, 2021 (public comment period is CLOSED)
Email Questions to: nistir-8356-comments@nist.gov

Planning Note (4/18/2022): This draft document has been RETIRED. NIST has discontinued additional development of this document, which is provided here in its entirety for historical purposes.


Jeffrey Voas (NIST), Peter Mell (NIST), Vartan Piroumian


Digital twin technology is an emerging area of research and standardization. Because of this, there may be a lack of clarity as to what is new with digital twins and what promise this technology holds. This report provides a detailed definition of digital twins, the motivation and vision for their use, common low-level operations, usage scenarios, and example use cases. Focusing on technical considerations with the cybersecurity and trust of digital twins, this report analyzes novel cybersecurity challenges arising from the use of digital twin architectures and examines the traditional cybersecurity challenges that apply. Finally, this draft report evaluates trust issues—including the impact a lack of trust and standards can have on digital twin functionality and quality—and maps those evaluations to other NIST cybersecurity guidance.

NOTE: A call for patent claims is included on page iii of this draft. For additional information, see the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) Patent Policy--Inclusion of Patents in ITL Publications.



computer cybersecurity; control; digital twins; instrumentation; real-time command; real-time monitoring; simulation; standards; testing; trust; use case scenarios
Control Families

None selected


NISTIR 8356 (Draft) (DOI)
Local Download

Supplemental Material:
None available

Document History:
04/16/21: NISTIR 8356 (Draft)


Security and Privacy
access control; assurance; maintenance; risk assessment

personal computers; sensors

Internet of Things