Today I’d like to talk about Internet of Things (IoT) and the Azure IoT Hub. IoT devices are not your typical devices like mobile phones, tablets or laptops. IoT devices are designed to respond to sensor activity that the device is being used for, like a glass break sensor for instance.
These devices are meant to be used for specific communications, whereas the typical device acts more like a server waiting to receive information from everywhere. This can cause some security threats if they are deployed in that manner. We can use firewalls and software to protect our equipment, but the whole idea with IoT is that these low power, no frills devices are what’s being deployed, so you don’t have a lot of that capability.
Also, the traditional PKI trust model is inefficient and ineffective for the IoT model; the TTL (time to live) certificates are too long and it doesn’t make sense for these devices. As well as the fact that promiscuous mode is turned on by default, which defeats the purpose of trying to have a secure environment.
Azure IoT Hub implements a service assisted communication methodology and this mediates interaction between backend systems and devices. With this you have a bi-directional, trust worthy communication set up and security is the number one priority of this configuration.
Devices will not accept unsolicited information; they must regularly check in for instructions, and authorization is based on per device identity. For devices in areas where there are network coverage or power issues, IoT provides cues for the messages that are set up for communication with the devices. Essentially, it will hold the message and validate the device before anything is sent/received; it will send the necessary data after it’s validated.
This also sets up an application payload data, which is secured separately, so any data that’s flowing through is going to be secured for protected transit through the gateways. The data is wrapped prior to sending and receiving between devices. Devices can be configured to work peer to peer before they get to a gateway to be able to extend out the range. That gateway is what communicates with your Azure IoT Hub.
All that traffic is designed to flow to and from the gateway and then communicate with the IoT Hub, which you can use to collect the data for big data uses, setting up Power BI reports or many other ways to use that data.