Security

Verizon readies cloud systems to support 'Internet of Things'

The idea that the world stands on the edge of an Internet of Things is barely out of the hype cycle and already Verizon has announced a cloud system designed to authenticate the billions of devices that might one day populate it.

Verizon's new flag in the sand is called Managed Certificate Services (MCS) platform, a platform designed as a gateway to enable the vast number of machine-to-machine connections that will be generated by smart energy meters, automobile systems, and home monitoring technology.

If consumers ever do start buying the Internet-enabled fridges that can tell them they are running out of milk, the data will probably pass through authentication systems such as MCS.

Importantly, this seductive omni-embedded world can't come into being without such technology existing first. MCS is on sale now in the U.S. and Europe, with Asia-Pacific due to be added next month.

The core of the system is its certificate-management handling, which removes the complexity and expense that normally comes with managing this kind of infrastructure.

Other capabilities included acting as a gateway for shopping cart applications, e-government services such as license plate renewals, and even for services requiring strong identify verification such as passport renewal, according to Verizon.

Customers could access the system through a web portal and be confident that it would scale to billions of devices if needed. Usage would operate on a pay-as-you-go service model, representatives of the firm added.

Ready when the gadgets are

Wrapping authentication in cloud services is an expanding business for all sorts of applications far more mundane than Internet of Things devices but security remains an important differentiator as the market develops.

The worry is that as more and more passive—machine—devices are connected, the motivation to connect rogues will increase.

"With the continued explosion of the Internet of Things and the expansion of connected objects and machines, businesses require a simple, scalable, and effective way to manage identity and data integrity," said Eddie Schwartz, Verizon's vice president of global security solutions.

"Verizon's Managed Certificate Services build upon our solid digital certificate technology and managed security services expertise with a cloud-based platform to deliver an ideal offering for the age of connected solutions," Schwartz added.

In truth, MCS is an Internet of Things story in name as much as reality; the Internet of Things is currently an Internet of very few things. In the meantime, it will have to earn its keep running a range of less hypr-laden applications until that world turns up.

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