Microsoft just unveiled a new solution for creating secure, Internet-connected microcontroller (MCU) devices called Microsoft Azure Sphere. The tool includes three components that all work to protect and power devices at the intelligent edge. Here’s an explanation of the three components.
Azure Sphere certified MCUs
Azure Sphere features a new cross-over class of MCUs that combine real-time and application processors with built-in Microsoft security and connectivity features. The chips include custom silicon security technology to keep the devices safe from threats in the same way Microsoft protects some of its other products, including Xbox.
Azure Sphere OS
The operating system is built specifically to offer security and agility to users. The company’s defense-in-depth IoT OS provides multiple layers of security, combining security innovations that have been featured in Windows operating systems with a security monitor and a custom Linux kernel. This gives users access to highly secured environments for software and a trustworthy platform to create new IoT experiences.
Azure Sphere Security Service
The product’s security service is meant to be a turnkey cloud service that guards every Azure Sphere device. It works by brokering trust for device-to-device and device-to-cloud communication using certificate-based authentication. It also detects emerging security threats across the entire ecosystem through online failure reporting and software updates that regularly update the security features. Essentially, it brings the type of protection that Microsoft has brought to its own devices and data in the cloud to MCU powered devices for users.
Overall, these capabilities are mean to combine in order to help Azure Sphere meet all the properties of a highly secured device. The product is now in private preview, with Microsoft working closely with select device manufacturers to build future products that are powered by Azure Sphere to market. The company expects the first wave of devices to be available for purchase by the end of 2018, with dev kits becoming universally available in mid-2018.
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