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ABI Research Sees Opportunity for On-Device Security Solutions

June 22, 2021

Creating secure IoT devices can be difficult due the breadth and variety of form factors available on the market, which makes for a fragmented ecosystem where security standardization is difficult. Today, security solutions are increasingly designed directly into IoT devices, whether they are resource-constrained or multi-function smart devices. ABI Research expects growing adoption of developer-friendly on-device security architectures, such as runtime protection and secure execution environments, at affordable prices for IoT markets.

“Traditionally, IoT device security has been implemented at the network level, mostly because security functions are either too complex, resource-intensive, or costly to integrate. However, such arguments are less convincing today,” says Michela Menting, Digital Security Research Director at ABI Research. “Growth in edge native security architectures has seen significant improvements in both hardware and software, which are cost-effective, have low overheads, use less bandwidth, and can even provide local analytics for an automated response. These capabilities enable IoT device security at scale in a way that is not only cost sensitive but also adds value.”

As they become more mature, technologies that were adopted primarily for RTOS and functional safety applications are seeing growing demand for integration in more general-purpose IoT use cases. These include runtime protection and monitoring software agents for constrained devices, trusted execution environments (TEEs) for microcontrollers, and secure virtualized partitions such as containers and hypervisors for IoT operating systems. For example, the use of TEEs in IoT devices is on track for double-digit growth over the next 5 years, and by 2025, shipments of TEE enabled processors and MCUs in the IoT will grow to the hundreds of millions, a quarter of total shipments.

“While the ecosystem around on-device security architectures for the IoT is still relatively nascent and fragmented, the market is maturing quickly, driven by a mix of pressing forces including IoT security regulation, organized cybercrime around ransomware, and digital transformation requiring value-add,” Menting concludes.

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