Cloud Security

Confidential Computing

What Is Confidential Computing?

Modern technology is vital for any type of business as well as for our daily lives. It brings a lot of benefits, but there are risks as well.

Using computers and the internet vastly improved operation times and communication within and outside the company. The problem is that all your sensitive data is out there and you need to protect it somehow. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to this problem: confidential computing.

Confidential Computing

confidential-computing-end-to-end-encryptionAny person using messaging apps has heard of end-to-end encryption. This technology allows for secure communications, keeping your messages private.

Confidential computing refers to cloud computing that uses this type of encryption. The encryption keys are entirely under your control and no one can know them. Not even your cloud services provider.

Confidential computing protects your sensitive data by placing it in a protected CPU enclave, a sort of safe space if you want. This is especially important when you’re using public clouds or hybrid clouds. Hybrid cloud services merge public clouds with private or on-premises clouds and allow you to transfer and manage data across all three types of clouds.

Data protection has been an issue since the first moment people started using cloud services. At first, providers offered encryption for your stored data—data that was at rest. Also, encryption guaranteed the confidentiality of your data during transfer.

What was not covered was the period your data was in use. Confidential computing is here to bridge this gap, making sure your data is safe during processing.

How Does Confidential Computing Work?

confidential-computing-data-encryptionWhen an application needs to use data stored in a cloud, this data needs to be unencrypted, which leaves it vulnerable. The same goes for all the time that data is in use.

By using confidential computing you can eliminate this risk. All your sensitive data will be secured in a CPU enclave using a trusted execution environment (TEE).

A TEE does that by using embedded encryption keys. These cannot be accessed except by an authorized application code.

If there’s a hacker attack or your network is infected by a malware program, the TEE recognizes and blocks any unauthorized access attempt.

What Are the Benefits of Using Confidential Computing?

No matter the size of your business, if you have sensitive data, you will want the best protection available. Here are the main benefits of confidential computing.

Data Protection

confidential-computing-data-protectionBy using confidential computing, TEE keeps your data confidential even while in use. This supplements the encryption protection cloud services already offer for at rest or in transit data.

Until now, to mitigate the risk of an attack on your sensitive data while in use you had no other option but to keep it stored in an on-premises cloud, which is not only costly but also rigid and cumbersome to use.

Confidential computing and the privacy it guarantees allow you to move your data in a public cloud.

Intellectual Property Protection

Confidential computing is not just for data protection. Using end-to-end encryption is a solution to ensure the safety of applications you develop, machine learning algorithms, or analytics functions.

Secure Collaboration

Developing apps or business solutions often requires collaboration between several companies. There are things you will need to share with them, and things you’ll want to keep private.

Confidential computing is the solution to this common problem. You can merge data coming from several companies in a public cloud using confidential computing and your sensitive information will still be secure.

Secure Cloud Services

Businesses managing huge amounts of data, like those in communications, finance, or healthcare, need to use cloud services. Up to now, that was considered a very risky business and justly so.

Take, for instance, a large medical services provider. Such a company cannot afford to put sensitive patient data at risk, so they struggled to find the most reliable cloud services provider.

With confidential computing there’s no such risk, so you have the freedom to choose the provider that best suits your needs. You don’t even have to worry if your competitors use the same cloud services provider. Your data is just as safe as their data, as each uses their own encryption keys.

In the end, confidential computing promises to make the internet safer than it has ever been.

Edward Kuhn

Edward Kuhn is a software architect who leads technical teams across a diverse range of projects using various platforms for Insurance, Medical and Manufacturing Industries.

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