Memory // Events

Micron, NetFoundry and Microsoft Unlock Full Potential of IoT for All

By Jeff Shiner - 2017-10-02

The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to disrupt the global economy on a scale larger than any previous industrial revolution. But these two major factors are holding the IoT back from the kind of massive growth where companies both big and small can reap the rewards:

  • How to monetize IoT deployments
  • How to secure IoT devices

Technology fragmentation, magnified by copious new technology types, has complicated the evaluation and implementation of IoT solutions and makes it difficult to calculate their potential return on investment (ROI). These same fragmented approaches, coupled with the lack of resources to understand them, have also made security a huge roadblock. Firewall protection isn’t enough. Only in-depth defense down to the device level will assure integrity of the entire IoT product life cycle.

Large Fortune 100 companies tend to have vast resources for cybersecurity, networking and connectivity — along with more personnel to research and understand new technologies. Smaller companies rely heavily on industry collaborations to enable simpler end-to-end deployments that offer a clearer vision of the investment.

Enter the new Micron, Microsoft and NetFoundry edge-to-cloud solutions that are enabling an ecosystem where companies of all sizes can flourish in the IoT.

Device Integrity, Made Possible by Micron, Is Key

Micron’s recently launched Authenta™ technology adds a strong layer of defense to a broad array of IoT devices. Micron’s flash memory with Authenta technology leverages existing standard nonvolatile memory sockets to add a unique level of hardware-based security that protects the integrity of the IoT device itself as well as the software that runs on the device.

Micron Authenta technology provides protection for the lowest layers of IoT device software, starting with the boot process. By combining the unique device-specific identity only a hardware root of trust can offer, along with the measurement capabilities necessary for in-memory secure boot, Authenta technology provides a strong cryptographic fingerprint necessary to authenticate IoT devices directly with a host, such as a secure gateway, or from a host to the cloud. This kind of device integrity will enable additional functionality like hardware-based device attestation and provisioning as well as administrative remediation of the device.

In addition to the hardware, Micron will soon offer software development kits (SDKs) that make it easier to provide secure device management and connectivity for new platforms and devices. These SDKs also allow you to retrofit legacy systems, offering faster time to market with fewer resources.

Gaining Trusted Access to Microsoft® Azure® IoT Hub

To enable only trusted hardware to authenticate directly to the Microsoft® Azure® IoT Hub, Micron and Microsoft leveraged the Device Identifier Composition Engine (DICE), an upcoming standard from the Trusted Computing Group (TCG), and Micron’s Authenta-enabled memory. (Learn more on Microsoft’s Azure blog.) One key aspect of the combined solution is that the health and identity of an IoT device is verified in-memory where critical code is typically stored.

However, there is an untrusted onramp between Micron's Authena-enabled memory and the Azure IoT cloud — a gap that is filled by NetFoundry.

Micron and NetFoundry Security Demo
Click to enlarge

Edge-to-Cloud Connectivity Enabled by NetFoundry™ MultiCloud Connect

The NetFoundry™ MultiCloud Connect solution provides application-specific networks (ASNs) on-demand, over the public internet that enable ultra-secure, high-performance edge-to-cloud and cloud-to-cloud connections with Azure, Amazon Web Services®, Google® Cloud, IBM® Bluemix® and many others. First, this solution eliminates the need for dedicated, expensive private links for your IoT devices to securely access off-site resources. Second, MultiCloud Connect lets your IoT devices be mobile, eliminating the need for fiber or hardwired communication. If you have internet access (WiFi, LAN, LTE, 4G, 5G, and so on), the NetFoundry ASN will be ready.

NetFoundry will leverage Micron’s strong device identity and hardware roots of trust to securely and reliably deliver IoT solutions over the NetFoundry platform using AppWANs. Each AppWAN is driven by the identity, context or policy, and performance requirements for the specific application. The NetFoundry platform has a flexible form factor to meet various solution needs. It can be embedded in your application via APIs, a client application running on your end device, or as a virtualized gateway running on your x86 appliance. The figure above shows the NetFoundry platform running as a virtualized gateway on the Dell® Edge Gateway 3002 automotive appliance. (NetFoundry is a Dell IoT Solutions Partner.)

Automation is a critical component in any IoT deployment due to the sheer volume and policy requirements that IoT endpoints have. The NetFoundry platform provides zero-touch onboarding that leverages the Micron Authenta device-specific identity so that each IoT endpoint automatically accesses network-wide services and resources based on your defined policy. These ASNs have built-in performance and path remediation to ensure highly secure sessions from the endpoint to the Azure IoT Hub or other required destinations, along with optimized performance and application responsiveness.

Live at IoT Solutions World Congress

This week, I’m at IoT Solutions World Congress 2017 in Barcelona where Micron, NetFoundry and Microsoft Azure will showcase these next-generation solutions that are establishing a strong, trusted link from the true edge to the cloud. If you’re attending the event, stop by and say hello. We can talk more about how you can take advantage of this end-to-end ecosystem, which is built on a strong chain of trust and set to simplify how companies quickly comprehend IoT deployment resources and the ROI model.

Amit Gattani

Jeff Shiner