Access and Feeds

Confidential Computing: Keeping Data Secure During Computations

By Dick Weisinger

Security strategies for data and computing usually rely heavily on data encryption. This includes the encryption of data “at rest” and also during “transmission”. But a weak point of this strategy is the use of data during computation — data needs to be decrypted before being processed.

To avoid the problem of exposing decrypted data during computations, chip makers are building into CPU chips features for handling encryption and decryption. These chips can provide a trusted execution environment (TEE). This approach is called confidential computing.

Confidential computing is particularly critical for cloud computing environments to be considered secure. The cloud needs to demonstrate that the environment that they offer is both protected and confidential. Confidential computing completes the security cycle: data is managed securely “at rest”, “in transit”, and now, “in use”.

Ayal Yogev, CEO and co-founder of Anjuna Security, said that “the last great barrier to migrating IT to the cloud is addressing the understandable fears of the chief information security officer (CISO) regarding data security. There’s good reason to be concerned; workloads and data executed and stored in the public cloud expose data to too many people—good and bad.”

The Everest Group estimates that confidential computing will grow to be a $54 billion market by 2026.

Ameesh Divatia, CEO of Baffle, said that “confidential computing is ushering in a new era to enable analytics of sensitive data without violating privacy and confidentiality requirements. It will address a significant roadblock for enterprises wishing to migrate to the cloud because it prevents cloud administrators from being able to view their customers’ data.”

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