With the components, software, and expertise available now, we’re seeing plenty of small, low-power, and low-cost products that are solving a diverse array of challenges in rather sophisticated ways. Back in the day, a sensor-related product would typically consist of the sensor, an analog front end for signal conditioning, an analog-to-digital converter, and software to manage all of the functions and serve as the “glue” to ensure that all of the blocks work together.
But with the cloud, the internet, and the prevalence of hackers and spoofers, security—and how it is implemented—should always be a key design consideration. This does create another challenge, however. After all, design teams seem to be shrinking, even while their responsibilities appear to be growing larger. Design cycles, in turn, are as aggressive as ever, even though products still need to undergo complex development, prototyping, debug, and validation phases.
So how do you ensure that basic sensor data is secure? How can you protect data from sensor node to web server?
Reference designs present a good solution, providing the components and capabilities that can help simplify the process for integrating strong security mechanisms into your design. Maxim, for example, offers an internet of things (IoT) embedded security reference design that protects an industrial sensing node via authentication and notification between the sensor and a web server. Also known as MAXREFDES143#, the reference design (shown in Figure 1) enables quick integration within a star-topology IoT network and supports the SHA-256 symmetric key algorithm. This high level of security eliminates the need to store the secure key in the processor memory. Read this article about the MAXREFDES143# to learn how the reference design can help you protect your sensor-related designs.