As security demands for the internet of things (IoT) will place heavy demands on constrained devices, the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC) has begun an effort to test the performance of processors on crypto algorithms and other vital parts of trusted software execution.
"The market for IoT security products is currently small but is growing rapidly as both consumers and businesses use connected devices in ever greater numbers and realize their vulnerabilities," said Ruggero Contu, research director at Gartner. "Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 11.4 billion by 2018. However, considerable variation exists among different industry sectors as a result of different levels of prioritization and security awareness."
EEMBC president Markus Levy said makers of IoT devices are concerned about the impact on battery life and applications performance: “Therefore, a critical goal of our new benchmark will be to quantify the latency and energy impact of implementing security to allow developers to select the optimal combination of microcontroller, hardware, and/or software security products for their application.”
The EEMBC IoT Security benchmark will be rolled out in phases. The first phase, planned for beta release in Q1 2017, will contain tests to evaluate a variety of standalone security functions such as SHA256, AES, and ECC. The benchmarks allow the use hardware accelerators as well as software libraries.
Mike Borza, co-chair of the security working group and a member of technical staff in the Synopsys security IP group, said: “In subsequent phases of the IoT Security benchmark, the working group plans to combine the standalone functions into specific IoT profiles that will allow users to better see, control, and optimize the impact of security at the system level.”
The EEMBC IoT Security benchmark will complement the EEMBC Connect benchmark, also in development. Connect is being built to reliably determine the combined energy consumption of a system, taking into consideration the real-world effects of sensor inputs and communication.
A further IoT-focused effort is the IoT Gateway benchmark suite. Rory Rudolph, senior systems engineer at Dell and chair of the IoT gateway working group, said: “When developing an IoT gateway benchmark, it's important to consider appropriate use cases. Because IoT use cases are incredibly diverse and involve combinations of hardware and software, the industry needs multiple benchmarks based on specific application profiles. Having this benchmark suite will greatly help purchasing managers and solution developers find the best products for their application requirements.”
This EEMBC benchmark will use a distributed approach with client-server interactions and workloads generated across multiple physical ports. The aim of this methodology is to test the system as a whole including the processor, physical and wireless interfaces, operating system, and other elements.
“The EEMBC IoT gateway benchmark will standardize assumptions about gateway operational conditions to ensure meaningful comparisons between gateway products,” said Paul Teich, principal analyst at Tirias Research and technical advisor to EEMBC. “Today, without this standardized methodology, IoT gateway benchmarking is not realistic, with buyers having to guess about each gateway’s potential performance for things such as sensor fusion, type of processing workloads, and how much data traffic to manage.”