In 2018 we are all living in a world where almost everything is becoming connected, whether it’s the power grid, network, phone system, our cars, or the appliances that heat our home or chill our food. As this Internet of Things (IoT) continues to proliferate. This growing class of cloud-connected devices – 9 billion of which ship every year – run tiny MCU chips that will power everything from kitchen appliances and toys to industrial equipment on factory floors. This next wave of connected devices is increasingly intelligent and connected. They will improve daily life in countless ways, but if they’re not secure, they will make people, communities and countries vulnerable to attack in more ways than ever before.
As s result of this the Threat and security risks expand exponentially. At this year RSA conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced new offerings to take security more squarely to where it needs to go and where it has not effectively gone before – the edge.
The Azure Sphere Services are a new services and features that will better harden not only our intelligent cloud but also the billions of connected devices that live on its edge.
Azure Sphere: Extending security to the Internet of Things
Azure Sphere, the industry’s first holistic solution for securing MCU-based devices from the silicon to the cloud. This solution brings together three critical pieces and advances:
- First, Azure Sphere is based on Microsoft’s development of an entirely new class of MCUs with more than five times the power of legacy MCUs. We’ll license the IP for these new MCUs royalty free to silicon manufacturers, removing barriers for silicon partners who want to develop and manufacture Azure Sphere chips. MediaTek is producing Azure Sphere-certified silicon, with more partners to follow.
- Second, Azure Sphere will bring to these new chips a new customized operating system built for IoT security. This OS incorporates a custom Linux kernel that has been optimized for an IoT environment and reworked with security innovations pioneered in Windows to create a highly secured software environment.
- Finally, Azure Sphere will feature a turnkey cloud security service that guards every Azure Sphere device, including the ability to update and upgrade this security protection for a 10-year lifetime of the device. Importantly, Azure Sphere will work alongside any cloud – private or proprietary – so that customers can continue to use their existing data infrastructure while adopting Azure Sphere’s groundbreaking security for their devices
This combined approach to Azure Sphere brings together the best of hardware, software and services innovation. It is open to any MCU chip manufacturer, open to additional software innovation by the open source community and open to work with any cloud. In short, it represents a critical new step for Microsoft by integrating innovation across every aspect of technology and by working with every part of the technology ecosystem, including our competitors. We believe this holistic solution will bring to IoT devices better security, resilience and developer agility than anything on the market today.
Product announcement blog by Galen Hunt who leads Azure Sphere
MSR blog by Vikram Dendi, Chief Product Officer for MSR NExT