At RSA conference today, Microsoft announced the new Azure Sphere, a new security platform that enables highly secured, connected MCU devices on the intelligent edge.
MCU devices are a new class of internet connected devices that rely on a small chip called a microcontroller unit (MCU). Examples of MCU devices include connected appliances, industrial connected equipment, even some toys. Microsoft’s new security platform will bring security to all these devices.
Featuring an entirely new class of MCUs with more than five times the power of legacy MCUs, an OS custom built for IoT security, and a turnkey cloud security service that guards every Azure Sphere device.
Azure Sphere mainly includes the following three components:
- Azure Sphere certified microcontrollers (MCUs): A new cross-over class of MCUs that combines both real-time and application processors with built-in Microsoft security technology and connectivity. Each chip includes custom silicon security technology from Microsoft, inspired by 15 years of experience and learnings from Xbox, to secure this new class of MCUs and the devices they power.
- Azure Sphere OS: This OS is purpose-built to offer unequaled security and agility. Unlike the RTOSes common to MCUs today, our defense-in-depth IoT OS offers multiple layers of security. It combines security innovations pioneered in Windows, a security monitor, and a custom Linux kernel to create a highly-secured software environment and a trustworthy platform for new IoT experiences.
- Azure Sphere Security Service: A turnkey, cloud service that guards every Azure Sphere device; brokering trust for device-to-device and device-to-cloud communication through certificate-based authentication, detecting emerging security threats across the entire Azure Sphere ecosystem through online failure reporting, and renewing security through software updates. It brings the rigor and scale Microsoft has built over decades protecting our own devices and data in the cloud to MCU powered devices.
Microsoft is working with several silicon partners to bring Azure Sphere based chipsets. The first Azure Sphere chip, the MediaTek MT3620, will come to market in volume this year. Microsoft is also licensing their silicon security technologies to silicon partners royalty-free.
Azure Sphere is currently in private preview and Microsoft is working with select device manufacturers to build products powered by Azure Sphere. Microsoft expects the first wave of Azure Sphere devices to be released in the market by the end of 2018. Microsoft will also release Dev kits in mid-2018.