Certificate Management 07-06-2021

How to Connect IoT Devices to Cloud Platforms Like Microsoft Azure IoT Using Certificates


In recent years, the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices has exploded, and experts predict we will reach 24.1 billion connected devices by 2030. But in this environment, businesses must connect, monitor and manage thousands or even millions of connected devices. With the increasing volumes of IoT devices, the attack surface expands significantly, making it easier for hackers and other bad actors to compromise the devices. A major feature that many IoT companies are adopting into their designs to help meet these growing challenges is the use of identity and mutual authentication into a cloud platform to track and manage each device.

Using digital certificates, companies can establish identity and mutual authentication and maintain security when connecting to a cloud service. One of the most popular options is Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, which provides communication between an IoT application and the devices it manages, will hold a substantial share of these devices. Since its launch, we’ve seen many of our customers adopt Azure IoT Hub and expect more to follow as Microsoft continues to add more capabilities. Whether for manufacturers, smart cities, connected vehicles or any other large scale IoT device use case, Azure IoT Hub offers a cloud solution to connect virtually any device.

What is Microsoft Azure IoT Hub?

Microsoft Azure IoT Hub is part of Azure IoT technology that establishes a reliable device-cloud-device communication for billions of IoT devices. This communications data is then directed to various services, such as processing, data analysis, telemetry data or storage services. To support Azure IoT Hub, Device Provisioning Service (DPS) allows for zero-touch provisioning and enrolling of IoT devices prior to devices registering with Azure IoT Hub.

How Azure IoT Hub works

Azure IoT Hub uses public key infrastructure (PKI) and device certificates to provide authentication and confidentiality for IoT devices. PKI provides a unique identity for each IoT device, ensuring that the genuine device is identified as an authentic device to the cloud provider. PKI certificates can ensure that data is protected and secure by establishing encrypted communications between the cloud provider and the IoT device.

How to connect an IoT device to Azure IoT Hub

Currently, to connect a device to Azure IoT Hub, the device must go through Azure DPS, which offers the ability to automatically provision millions of devices. To connect to Azure IoT Hub DPS, a device certificate is needed. Certificate authorities like DigiCert provide the necessary certificates to connect IoT devices to Azure IoT Hub.

However, deploying and managing these certificates at scale can be a challenge without a strong, scalable certificate platform. To protect bi-directional communications and device identity, and gain access to Azure IoT Hub, DigiCert IoT Trust Manager can provide a secure way to uniquely identify devices and encrypt communications between IoT devices and Azure IoT Hub and other popular IoT platforms.

About DigiCert IoT Trust Manager

DigiCert® IoT Trust Manager provides a comprehensive, automated workflow for companies to manage their IoT devices with certificate-based security during manufacturing and at the edge. It offers the scalability, flexibility, control and efficiency required for a network of connected devices. Administrators can monitor the entire certificate lifecycle, customize metadata about the device within certificates and remain compliant to industry standards.

Rather than building and maintaining a self-managed PKI, DigiCert IoT Trust Manager automates PKI deployment, making it easy to manage a large network of devices. Admins can customize permissions and access control to segment administration for different user groups, and because it is built on DigiCert ONE’s containerized, cloud-native architecture, DigiCert IoT Trust Manager can be deployed anywhere: on-premises, in-country datacenters or wherever the customer needs it, with a fully scalable PKI platform ready to use in minutes, not months.

To learn more, visit digicert.com/iot-trust-manager or email Iot@digicert.com.


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