Microsoft has launched a new program for its Azure cloud platform to help business customers strengthen their security posture amid the rise of the Internet of Things.
Security and privacy concerns are top of mind for IT pros as the IoT continues to grow within the enterprise. Many struggle to verify the security of their IoT infrastructure and may delay product implementation as they establish best practices.
Microsoft's new Security Program for Azure IoT is a response to customer requests for increased security assurances as they assemble and deploy IoT products, the company says.
Microsoft has partnered with security auditors to evaluate customers' IoT infrastructure, detect security problems, and provide recommendations. Customers can choose an auditor to conduct examinations from the ground up, verifying devices, assets, gateways, and communication with the cloud.
Partners so far include Praetorian, Casaba Security, CyberX, and Tech Mahindra, but Microsoft plans to add more as the program continues to grow. It will also work with standards organizations including the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) to create industry protocols and best practices for security audits.
"In today's connected world, the perception of security risk alone, even if not realized, can still negatively impact consumer confidence necessary for new technologies to meet their full market potential," says Paul Jauregui, VP Marketing and IoT Business Lead at Praetorian.
High-profile data breaches have increased consumer awareness of issues surrounding data security, Jauregui explains. Adoption of enterprise and consumer IoT may suffer until vendors can address their privacy concerns.
The massive DDoS attacks on Dyn on October 21, which were launched mainly via infected IoT devices, were a wakeup call for businesses. Most of the devices used in these attacks were surveillance cameras, indicating how seemingly benign objects can cause widespread problems.
Jauregui explains how for businesses, security is both an economic and technical challenge. IoT product teams struggle to balance risk with the pressures of quickly bringing products to market.
"Resources allocated towards security-related activities throughout product development, assessment, and maintenance will increase as viable IoT business models and value creation opportunities solidify across every industry," he says.
As businesses work to solve IoT security problems, Jauregui explains how the entire ecosystem must work together. Hardware manufacturers, product teams, developers, cloud providers, product teams, service providers, and consumers need to collaborate to ensure security "from chip to cloud," he notes.
Praetorian, as a partner in the program, will review organizations' full IoT solutions while focusing on vulnerabilities. By helping them close security gaps, Praetorian and other partner companies will help Microsoft's business customers balance risk and time-to-market.
"Solving and managing IoT security is going to take a village," says Jauregui.