What is Azure Sphere?
Azure Sphere is a secured, high-level application platform with built-in communication and security features for internet-connected devices.
Azure Sphere introduces a new class of secured, connected, crossover microcontroller unit (MCU), which integrates real-time processing capabilities with the ability to run a high-level operating system. An Azure Sphere MCU, along with its operating system and application platform, enables product manufacturers to create secured, internet-connected devices that can be updated, controlled, monitored, and maintained remotely. By embedding the MCU in a connected device, either alongside or in place of existing MCU(s), product manufacturers gain enhanced security, productivity, and opportunity. For example:
- A secured application environment, authenticated connections, and opt-in use of peripherals minimizes security risks due to spoofing, rogue software, or denial of service attacks, among others.
- Software updates can be automatically deployed over the air to any connected device to fix problems, provide new functionality, or counter emerging methods of attack, thus enhancing the productivity of support personnel.
- Product usage data can be reported to the cloud over a secured connection to help in diagnosing problems and designing new products, thus increasing the opportunity for product service, positive customer interactions, and future development.
The Azure Sphere Security Service is an integral aspect of Azure Sphere. Using this service, Azure Sphere MCUs safely and securely connect to the cloud and web. The service ensures that the device boots only with an authorized version of genuine, approved software. In addition, it provides a secured channel through which Microsoft can automatically download and install operating system updates to deployed devices in the field to mitigate security issues. Neither manufacturer nor end-user intervention is required, thus preventing a common security gap.