Chip-to-Cloud IoT: A Decisive Step Toward Web 3.0

Shannon Flynn -
decentralized iot
Illustration: © IoT For All

Most IoT products are not secure by design. In fact, they’re a primary reason for the recent explosion in cybercrime. One report showed 2.9 billion cyber incidents in the first half of 2019. The researchers specifically called out the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) — along with Windows SMB — as a leading cause. Decentralized technology through chip-to-cloud IoT may be the answer to these problems.

IoT introduces almost countless opportunities for improvement at the consumer and commercial technology levels. Personal uses include smart homes and smart cars. IoT provides overwatch across numerous cyber-physical systems in industrial settings and facilitates data mobility like never before.

Rampant cybersecurity concerns surrounding IoT are leading some technologists to call for a different kind of architecture. Chip-to-cloud IoT looks like a promising way to build a more secure, useful, and decentralized technology for all.

What’s Wrong sith Current IoT Security?

There are likely to be 50 billion internet-connected devices worldwide by 2030. These include smartphones, personal computers, sensors, and embedded logic controllers across vehicle and machine fleets in the industrial world. Each of these devices is an internet node, and any one of them could be a weak link in the cybersecurity chain.

There are several reasons why the current approach to building IoT devices is foundationally insecure:

  • IoT devices usually lack the processing capacity to run onboard security tools.
  • Adopters of IoT devices frequently fail to change factory-default passwords, which hackers can guess easily.
  • IoT is a relatively immature technology, and it’s easy for inexperienced users to misconfigure networks and settings.

Despite their limited computational power, IoT devices can still become infected with malware. For all their potential to improve enterprise planning and maintenance responsiveness, connected machines and devices can offer an unguarded backdoor into facility intranets and corporate networks. This is especially true if they’re not built and deployed properly. That’s why IT experts frequently subdivide networks to isolate and hide IoT devices from the rest of the organization’s business or guest traffic.

However, this still doesn’t solve the problem of IoT’s fundamental shortcomings. People need to rethink how the chips in IoT products communicate with the internet and with each other to bring about more robust IoT security.

Chip-to-Cloud Is Decentralized IoT

Chip-to-cloud architecture provides a way to create networks of secure, low-energy devices that have direct connectivity to IoT cloud platforms. Organizations everywhere are finding they must shift to a cloud-first technology stack, but so far, the collective efforts to build this infrastructure have been wasteful, inefficient and insecure.

The traditional route IT professionals took to secure IoT devices was based on firewalls and other security products not hosted on the machine itself. This is the fundamental weakness that chip-to-cloud architecture seeks to address.

One of the major weaknesses of IoT devices is their lack of computational power and onboard security measures. Items built with chip-to-cloud IoT security are more powerful and secure than their predecessors while remaining energy-efficient, due to several features:

  • Onboard cryptography engine
  • Random number generator
  • Sufficient random-access memory (RAM)

These chipset features grant an additional security boon. Thanks to the cryptographic uniqueness of each IoT node, it becomes far more difficult for a hacker to spoof its identity and hijack its access to the wider business network.

If previous incarnations of IoT were a part of Web 2.0, then chip-to-cloud IoT is a decisive step toward Web 3.0, or just “Web3.” The technologists who are active in this emerging space promise these design principles will shift the power balance back to the beneficiaries of data mobility — the consumers of IoT devices or value-creators — instead of centralized providers. 

Data gathered at the edge can be processed and used there, too. Chip-to-cloud makes it faster than ever by eliminating traffic stops between the edge nodes and the logic program standing ready to act on the information.

The phrase “secure by design” applies to chip-to-cloud IoT architecture. This new generation of tools aims to provide value-adding data-mobility capabilities to new and legacy equipment, just like current IoT. However, chip-to-cloud chipsets remain perpetually connected to the cloud. This should substantially improve asset availability and make digital communication between nodes, departments, or facilities even faster.

How Does Chip-to-Cloud Decentralize IoT?

Essentially, what it decentralizes most are security protocols. Traditional IoT involved placing firewalls and other third-party protections over an existing, otherwise-unprotected cloud of connected devices. Picture a single umbrella protecting a family of 12 — or trying to.

Now, picture that same family of 12, but each member has their own umbrella during the downpour. This is chip-to-cloud IoT. Each device possesses a powerful, individually protected chipset, making it a far stronger link in the chain than ordinary IoT devices.

Chip-to-cloud is decentralized technology in that each node reports directly to the cloud controller or analytics program rather than an intermediary. This represents another win on the security side of things, plus a way to cut down on latency and loss as data packets move between recipients.

What Comes After Chip-to-Cloud?

Recent global events are seeing massive investments in cloud technology broadly and chip-to-cloud architecture specifically. Companies and organizations require data to power their client relationship portals, enterprise planning tools and machine-maintenance platforms — and IoT can provide it.

However, IoT won’t be sufficiently safe even with chip-to-cloud technology. Organizations need detailed device management protocols for each new IT investment, a culture focused on security vigilance and training, and the know-how to choose technology partners wisely.

The transition to Web 3.0 will continue from here. In time, chip-to-cloud will likely be joined and combined with other Web 3.0 technologies, like blockchain, to further enhance its usefulness and security robustness. It will be interesting to see what the world’s real value-creators do with these powerful new tools.

Shannon Flynn - Technology Writer, ReHack Magazine

Guest Writer
Guest Writer
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All.
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All.