Microsoft Acquires CyberX to Enhance Security in Azure IoT business
The CyberX platform comprises a series of tools, ranging from perimeter firewalls and conventional ICS/SCADA defenses to IoT-specific features to provide continuous monitoring and real-time alerting.
The move is aimed at strengthening Microsoft’s Azure framework security for IoT applications. Following the acquisition, CyberX’s founders will join Microsoft and the platform will continue to be supported by the existing CyberX team.
CyberX was founded by Nir Giller and Omer Schneider in 2013. The Waltham-based company has since received overall funding of $47 million and now counts over 200 employees. Funded by Norwest Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures, and Flint Capital, among others, CyberX specializes in security solutions specifically aimed at devices deployed in IoT networks.
The CyberX platform comprises a series of tools, ranging from perimeter firewalls and conventional ICS/SCADA defenses to IoT-specific features to provide continuous monitoring and real-time alerting. Protecting from a variety of potential threats, the CyberX self-learning system is mostly automated and embeds five different analytics engines.
CyberX dashboard. Image used courtesy of Microsoft.
These can respectively distinguish and detect behavioral anomalies, protocol violations, malware attacks, unusual machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and operational issues.
Strengthening the Azure IoT Framework
As one of the most prominent players in the global technology race, Microsoft has been providing IoT services for a few years now. The security side of these services is based on Azure IoT, a series of tools designed to connect, monitor, and control billions of IoT assets.
Under the umbrella of Azure IoT, Microsoft provides guidance throughout the whole process of building an IoT ecosystem from its inception to its operational stages. The individual tools building up Azure are IoT Hub, IoT Edge, and Sphere. Down below is a brief overview of the three platforms:
- Azure IoT Hub: connect, monitor, and manage billions of devices for IoT apps development
- Azure IoT Edge: decrease the risk of security threats when moving data and analytics to the cloud
- Azure Sphere: create secured, connected microcontroller unit-powered devices
With the acquisition of CyberX, Microsoft said it intends to develop its Azure IoT platform in two directions. The first one would be to use CyberX technology to give customers more insight into what IoT devices are already connected to their networks. In addition, the security company's technology will also be used to facilitate the management of security on existing IoT devices, a historically difficult process due to diversified custom protocols.
The Future of Industrial Networking
By enhancing the existing Azure IoT security capabilities, the CyberX platform will also allow Microsoft to step up its efforts in industrial IoT, Operational Technology, and infrastructure scenarios. Through the company’s security tools, customers will be able to discover their existing IoT assets, as well as manage and improve their security capabilities.
For example, CyberX will enable Microsoft Azure customers to see a digital map of thousands of several devices across a factory floor or within a building, while simultaneously gathering information regarding assets and their vulnerabilities.
This visibility will be critical not only for the understanding and mitigating of existing security risks but also to enable smart manufacturing in a more secure way. This will ultimately increase security across the whole facility production and, more generally, the entire supply chain.
What do you think about Microsoft's latest acquisition and the CyberX platform?