Mender, the leading open source over-the-air (OTA) software updater for connected IoT devices, today announced the launch of Hosted Mender, a Software as a Service enabling automated OTA software updates to IoT devices.



The Mender team plans to address this critical security requirement in order to allow embedded systems to connect to the Internet and receive software updates in order to fix bugs, patch security vulnerabilities, and receive new features.

“Everyone is rushing to get the product to market and one of the final components that doesn’t get sufficient attention is the update mechanism,” said Eystein Stenberg, CTO of Mender. “In the final months and weeks of the release cycle, new urgent issues and bugs continue to come up, one by one and everyone understands they just need to put something together to deploy software updates. Unfortunately, this typically lacks the security and robust requirements the update process needs for IoT devices.”

“Before Hosted Mender, owners of IoT products were underserved by existing OTA tools due to complex implementations and heavy maintenance of homegrown tools leading to delayed product releases,” said Ralph Nguyen, Head of Community Development. “There have been many PR disasters due to poor OTA implementations that caused devices to brick and become unusable, or the OTA update process was insecure leading to device compromise. But thanks to the rapid time to value with Hosted Mender, these problems are now addressed.”

“Our team draws on extensive experience in infrastructure management and embedded systems,” said Eystein Stenberg. “Our experience allows us to apply our real-world experience to developing an open source product for Linux-based devices that can quickly patch known vulnerabilities and software bugs without the risks of bricking the devices in the field.” This is controlled through Mender’s phased rollouts of new software updates — a built-in feature that will ease the apprehension of potentially “bricking” an entire device fleet.

Other key capabilities include automatic rollback in case the update doesn’t take for any reason – including power loss or poor network mid-update – which can brick a device and make it completely unusable. “Our focus is to ensure the software update process for IoT devices is resilient to the many things that can go wrong when a device is in the field,” said Eystein Stenberg.

The projected scale of IoT growth is massive, but there are clear roadblocks for wide adoption. A top concern for many organizations is securing their smart devices given the increasingly regular news coverage of data breaches and device compromise. “We are already partnering with various security-sensitive organizations, including the smart transportation industry and energy providers in need of securing their connected devices,” said Ralph Nguyen. “And their top concern is security.”

Adding more intelligence to these smart devices also means more advanced software, which explains the increased adoption to Linux-based embedded systems. “More lines of code of course means increasing the likelihood of bugs with the industry standard having anywhere from 1 to 50 errors per 1,000 lines of delivered code,” said Eystein Stenberg.

Hosted Mender provides an inexpensive, on-demand OTA solution with the ability to secure field-deployed devices with minimal risk of device bricking through automated rollback, secure communication protocols, code signing, proper authentication, reporting and dashboards for real-time visibility into the health of the entire device fleet. And with a hosted management server, device manufacturers get rapid time-to-value in end-to-end OTA management.

Contact Information

Mender

470 Ramona Street
Palo Alto, CA, 94301

contact@mender.io
http://www.mender.io

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