Microsoft brings Azure and Security to the Edge

Aiming to address emerging threats against a new class of connected devices.
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Microsoft has announced new intelligent security tools to help enterprises more easily secure their data.

Microsoft has announced new intelligent security tools to help enterprises more easily secure their data.

Software maker Microsoft Corp. announced several new intelligent security tools and technologies to help enterprises more easily secure their data and networks against today's biggest threats as well as address emerging threats aimed at IoT and edge devices.

At RSA Conference this week in San Francisco, the tech major said it is harnessing the power of the intelligent cloud to address emerging threats against a new class of connected devices, those relying on a chip the size of a thumbnail called a microcontroller unit (MCU).

Microsoft president, Brad Smith, holds up a MCU at Microsoft’s security news briefing on April 16, 2018.

Microsoft president, Brad Smith, holds up a MCU at Microsoft’s security news briefing on April 16, 2018.

Describing it as a holistic solution built for securing microcontroller unit (MCU)-based devices from the silicon to the cloud, Microsoft introduced Azure Sphere which as a solution to an estimated 9 billion cloud-connected devices.

The company stated that some companies like MediaTeak are already producing Azure Sphere-certified silicon, which it claims, is based on a new class of Microsoft-developed MCUs that boast five times the power of legacy MCUs.

Likewise, the software maker asserts that Azure Sphere will bring to these new chips a new customized operating system built for IoT security which feature a custom Linux kernel that has been optimized for an IoT environment. The OS includes security innovations pioneered in Windows to create a highly secured software environment.

Azure Sphere will bring to these new chips a new customised operating system built for IoT security.

Azure Sphere will bring to these new chips a new customised operating system built for IoT security.

Similarly, 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. Azure Sphere will work alongside any cloud – private or proprietary – allowing customers to continue using their existing data infrastructure, Microsoft said.

“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,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said. “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.”

While commenting on Azure, Rob Lefferts, said customers embracing the cloud can leverage Azure Security Center to stay up to date with threats and to simplify hybrid cloud security. “Several new capabilities will be available with Security Center this week that help to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities proactively and detect new threats quickly, " Lefferts revealed. "With the integration of Windows Defender ATP in preview, customers can get all the benefits of advanced threat protection for Windows servers in Azure Security Center,” Lefferts advised.