Heavyweight Security for Lightweight Devices

Heavyweight Security for Lightweight Devices

March 12, 2018  |  William Adams

Recently I had the privilege of writing a guest post for the Arm Mbed blog, “The Challenge of Providing Heavyweight Security for Lightweight IoT Devices.” And shortly after that I enjoyed participating in a joint Arm and CENTRI webinar on the same subject.

We at CENTRI have taken a deeper look at the challenges of – and solutions for – meeting this critical need. The result is our new white paper: Heavyweight Security for Lightweight Devices.

All of us working within IoT face a special challenge because the very success of the IoT has made it a target for hackers and other bad actors and, the IoT offers a vast array of targets. And the same lightweight MCU/CPU limited-resource devices that make IoT so versatile also limit the use of conventional security solutions. This lack of robust security solutions is especially troubling because by their very nature, IoT devices – hanging from lamp posts, sitting on utility towers, bolted to industrial machines, or sitting in the home – are generally far removed from the traditional firewalls and layered security of the enterprise.

The smaller the device, the harder it is to protect. Whether dealing with a sensor embedded into the electrical grid or protecting back-office servers, the same level of security is required. But with IoT devices you don’t have the luxury of measuring memory in gigabytes, nor measuring processing power in terms of cores. Most devices have an MCU rather than a CPU, and that MCU is running at speeds measured in megahertz, not gigahertz. And the low cost of some of these devices means razor-thin margins when selling them to suppliers or customers, leaving some to mistakenly ask: Is there enough left to invest in security?

Especially when considering the resource challenges noted above, it is essential that IoT security be built into a device from the very beginning – including flashing security into ROM along with the operating system and application stack. Unfortunately, security is often something that is tacked on as an afterthought (if at all), which can lead to developers trying to drop TCP/IP-based solutions onto devices that can’t begin to handle a TCP/ IP stack.

This is why CENTRI Technology has created heavyweight security for a world of lightweight devices. While our security is heavyweight, our footprint isn’t. CENTRI Internet of Things Advanced Security – IoTAS components, which provide industry standard encryption and compression in a single pass – weigh in at a size of around 30kB of ROM on an embedded device and use a mere 16kB of RAM.

No other commercially available product can provide a better solution for securing and protecting your data. Download our white paper, give it a read, and let me know what you think. I always enjoy talking about the challenge of securing data from true edge devices to the cloud.


Thanks for reading,


William is Senior Director of Products and Customer Advocacy at CENTRI Technology. With a degree in physics from Carnegie Mellon University, William has founded and served as CEO for a number of software companies, with specialties in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. Getting an early start in computing, William published his first computer program at the age of 11 with the National Science Foundation and it was distributed nationwide; and he became an Honorarium Professor at the University of Colorado at age 16, teaching graduate level computer science classes. Connect with him on LinkedIn or email sales@centritechnology.com.