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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Microsoft boosts security to offer IoT-as-a-service

By Nick Flaherty

Microsoft is offering its IoT capability on its Azure cloud as software-as-a-service (SaaS) to speed up deployments and has boosted its security provision as a result.

Microsoft IoT Central is a fully managed SaaS offering that enables powerful IoT scenarios without requiring cloud solution expertise. Built on the Azure cloud, it simplifies the development process and makes it easy and fast for customers to get started.

To do this, Azure IoT now supports Device Identity Composition Engine (DICE) and many different kinds of Hardware Security Modules (HSMs), says Arjmand Samuel, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft. DICE is an upcoming standard at Trusted Computing Group (TCG) for device identification and attestation which enables manufacturers to use silicon gates to create device identification based in hardware, making security hardware part of new devices from the ground up. HSMs are the core security technology used to secure device identities and provide advanced functionality such as hardware-based device attestation and zero touch provisioning.

The Azure IoT team is also working with standards organizations and major industry partners to employ latest in security best practices to deploy support for a wide variety of Hardware Secure Modules (HSM). HSMs offer resistant and resilient hardware root of trust in IoT devices and Azure integrates HSM support with new platform services such as Hub Device Provisioning and Management, enabling developers to focus more on identifying specific risks associated with their applications and less on security deployment tactics.

IoT device deployments can be remote, autonomous, and open to threats like spoofing, tampering, and displacement. In this case HSMs offer a major defense layer to raise trust in authentication, integrity, confidentiality, privacy, and more. The DICE minimalist approach is an alternative path to more traditional security framework standards like the Trusted Computing Group’s (TCG) and Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which is also supported on the Azure IoT platform.

The move also includes analytics with Azure Stream Analytics on edge devices, a new feature that extends from the cloud down to the device level.

Azure Stream Analytics on edge devices has the same unified cloud-management for stream analytics running across edge devices and the cloud. This approach enables organizations to use streaming analytics in scenarios where connectivity to the cloud is limited or inconsistent, but the need for quick insight and proactive actions are essential to run the business.

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