Microsoft held a security briefing at RSA in San Francisco today, where it announced Azure Sphere, a complete solution for IoT security. It was originally spotted over a year ago, then only known as Project Sopris.
Azure Sphere consists of both hardware and software. Microsoft has developed "an entirely new class" of microcontroller units (MCUs) that are over five times more powerful than older MCUs. These designs will be licensed to partners without any royalty fees, and the first one on board will be MediaTek.
On top of the Azure Sphere certified MCUs will run Azure Sphere OS, a custom Linux-based
distribution with "multiple layers of security". The OS "has been optimized for an IoT environment and reworked with security innovations pioneered in Windows to create a highly secured software environment."
The third and final part of the Azure Spere offering is a "turnkey cloud security service", which is designed to protect every Azure Sphere device, meaning those that have the custom MCUs and Azure Sphere OS. It will work on any cloud offering, allowing customers to use their existing infrastructure.
Ultimately, this is meant to add up to better performance and increased security in Internet of Things devices. Microsoft says that nine billion such devices ship every single year, so users will need to be protected.