MS Azure Sphere – A New Phase For The Industrial Internet Of Things

22 Nov

The advancement in technology is baseless without the internet of things solutions.

The Internet has brought immense changes in the world and has contributed greatly to development. A large part of this contribution comprises of Microsoft tools and services. And now it has bought the all-new Azure Sphere from the Azure Cloud solutions.

The IoT is changing the way businesses connect these days. Now the connectivity is not limited to neither it wants to be limited to just a few devices operating nearby. The corporations now want to completely transform their working into digital methods. And they are not wrong, as this is what can be called “smart working”.

But their working needs to be prolific and reliable and most importantly secure. And this can be done only when the internet of things solutions can work smoothly on complicated, interconnected arrangements of technology and where people can communicate on safe and secure Azure cloud solutions.

So what is the Azure Sphere and how is it useful in the Internet of Things?

If we talk about the basics then this Azure sphere is an operating system based on Linux belonging to the family of Unix-like and without any doubt provided by the parent company of azure cloud application development company Microsoft. It came in the year 2018 and languages like C and others are used for this.

Azure is a high-level program that is safe and secure to use. And it comes with a built-in communication facility along with a number of security features for the technical equipment used over the internet for connectivity and operating of data(sending, receiving and storing). And to perform all its functions and working it has three components namely, MCU, OS, and security service. We will now discuss these three in detail.

The three components of Azure Sphere

These three are the center of Microsoft’s new guarded IoT application development system. Let’s go through them one by one:

1. The Microcontroller Unit(MCU)

These are small chips that one can find in any device we use today from the Television remotes to the vast industrial equipment, almost all the devices. This chip is what helps the device perform all the operations especially the basic ones. But there is a catch in this and that is the fact that these chips are not made by keeping the security in mind. The MCU of the Azure Sphere enables the creation of one or more secure devices that will be connected over the internet and can be controlled, maintained and updated easily without any hassle. Any device that has the Azure Sphere MCU will render enhanced protection, productivity, and possibility.

2. The Azure Sphere operating system

The operating system provided by the Azure sphere is a platform that supports IoT Application development, for secure and integrated tasks. As mentioned earlier the operating system is based on Linux that is high-level and a custom Linux Kernel. What it does is that it creates an environment that is completely secure for the development of the software. The custom kernel operates in a supervisor mode and it has been carefully set up according to the flash and RAM of the microchip unit of the azure sphere.

The driver model brings out the peripherals of MCU to the operating system’s services and applications. Wi-fi, GPIO, SPI are some of the drivers of the Azure Sphere.

3. Security Service

This security service by azure cloud application development has further three components of its own that are:

A. Certificate-based authentication: This renders remote attestation along with the one as the name. The attestation service connects through a challenge-response protocol and this protocol makes use of the calculated boot trait on the Pluton subsystem. This ensures that the device which has this security system is booted with the apt software and it the righteous version of it as well.

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This was till the attestation and once it is over authentication comes into play. Communicating via TLS connection, it renders the certificate for the device which is presented to the web service that can be any company’s private cloud or if applicable then the Microsoft Azure itself. The web service checks the authenticity of the device after which the device is able to connect to the online service safe and sound.

B. Update: The operating system and applications of the Microsoft Azure are updated regularly with the latest features automatically. With this, the software is able to work continuously with efficiency. This helps greatly in remote servicing.



C. Failure Reporting: Just like the name suggests this feature helps to report any kind of crash or failure in the working of the software so that their team can look into it and either fix the matter or improve it.

Why should you choose Microsoft Azure Sphere

The main purpose or aim through this Azure Sphere is to present high-level security at a cost that is as low as possible which will enable the devices that are powered with Microcontroller to connect to the internet securely.

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Security is the topmost priority here and not just of the hardware of the appliances but also of the software and the cloud services operating in it as well. One single breach in the security of any of these is a threat to the entire set up and its owner. Decade-old experience has enabled Microsoft to develop a top-notch security platform that has the following mentioned properties in it:

The hardware-based origin of belief: Device forgery is kept at bay with this as it ensures that the identity of the device and the device itself are not distinguishable.

Small esteemed computing rest: Number of software running on a device is kept out of the trusted base, hence decreases the chances of an attack.


Strong Defense: Every layer of the all-new Microsoft Azure Sphere makes sure that the layer above is safe and sound. Hence security is provided through multiple layers and is quite strong deep down.

Compartmentalization: This feature helps in putting a constraint on the failure that has occurred in any one component of the entire set up.

Conclusion

Microsoft keeps itself occupied in bringing new things into the businesses and one is this Microsoft Azure Sphere that has all the qualities mentioned above among many others. There is no doubt that it will provide a really good security platform for the IoT.