Continuing its commitment to IoT, declared 2 years ago with a $5 billion investment spread over a period of 4 years, Microsoft has acquired IoT security specialist firm CyberX to complement its existing Azure IoT security offerings. The announcement was made by Michael Bravernem-Blumenstyk, CVP and CTO of cloud + AI security, and Sam George, CVP of cloud + Azure IoT, in a blog post.
IoT has moved from being an industry buzzword to being the most effective solution for gaining real-time insights into assets to reduce operational expenses, unplanned downtime, and unnecessary maintenance activities. Although businesses across verticals are sold to the idea of using the Internet of Things (IoT), a major hurdle remains the security of IoT devices and the data generated by them. Microsoft provides multilayer IoT security and IoT security monitoring in Azure through its own offerings and those of its IoT security partners.
- Azure IoT Hub — Connects, monitors, and manages all assets of an IoT network.
- Azure Sphere — Securely connects all MCU- powered devices to the cloud.
- Security Centre — Unifies security management across hybrid cloud workloads and enables advanced threat protection as well.
- Azure Sentinel — Used to detect threats, investigate the source, and provide quick and smart responses.
- Azure IoT Edge – Extends security threat detection and analytics capabilities to edge devices.
However, manufacturing businesses face additional challenges in IoT deployment due to their infrastructure intensive business model. These challenges primarily revolve around visibility into the IoT devices already connected to the network and managing the security of brownfield devices. For the uninitiated, brownfield devices are the legacy operational devices that come with their own hardware, software, and design decisions.
Microsoft says in its blog that CyberX would complement Azure IoT security capabilities because it can
- Discover existing IoT assets
- Manage and improve the security posture of those devices
- Provide a digital map of thousands of devices across the factory floor or within a building
- Gather information about asset profiles and their vulnerabilities for the customers
CyberX is an Israeli IoT / OT security platform established in 2013 by Omar Schneider and Nir Giller. Nir Giller, said, "Together CyberX and Microsoft provide an unbeatable solution for gaining visibility and a holistic understanding of risk for all IoT and OT devices in your enterprise."
Microsoft seems to be on the right track as it recently beat Amazon AWS, Huawei and IBM to be named the top IoT platform. According to a report released by Counterpoint Research in the last week of May, Microsoft is the business leader in IoT platforms.
Counterpoint used its proprietary evaluation framework CORE — COmpetitive Rankings and Evaluation — to analyze 35+ capabilities of 20 leading IoT platform players. Some of the parameters on which the vendors were evaluated included application enablement, ecosystem group, integration and scalability, cloud and edge IoT components, edge orchestration, edge data processing, etc.
It was not only in the overall ranking that Microsoft beat its competitors but it was the top or joint top for most of the parameters. The other four positions in the top five were held by Amazon, Huawei, PTC, and IBM.