Data Protection can be Improved Using Confidential Computing

Security has long been an issue for organisations that employ cloud computing. As businesses adopt a greater usage of containers in production, these worries have only grown. Data security is now a top priority in every company’s IT strategy, particularly when sensitive and proprietary data required by the application travels outside the business – such as to the cloud. In these situations, it’s even more important to keep that data safe while it’s being used. As a result, confidential computing is becoming more popular, a new trend that focuses on safeguarding data while it is in use.

By providing private encryption, enhanced privacy, and intellectual property protection, confidential computing adds an extra layer of security to data and code. Various forms of intellectual property protection with support for custom hardware have existed for a long time. The advancement of cloud computing and hardware has made secret computing possible in public clouds. That’s a good thing, because data security on the cloud is crucial.

Confidential computing has a wide range of advantages and applications when it comes to data security in trusted environments. For one thing, greater cloud data security means that even cloud administrators or bad hackers can’t see their customers’ data, even if they’ve exploited kernel flaws in hosts. Customers have complete control over their data and operations in the cloud at all times, including when it is in use. To guarantee the most protection for cloud data, in-memory processing with data and code encryption is used.

End-to-end security encryption is also possible with confidential computing, which secures data while it is being processed or used. Encryption keys are used for highly sensitive and secret data, such as financial information, to ensure data security. When moving data between environments, especially when using transformational computing, greater transparency is accessible, and standard confidential computing application solutions can be designed and transported across different cloud platforms. Furthermore, it safeguards data from malicious and insider attacks and complies with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Data Security

What makes data protection so critical and timely now? The cloud’s fast acceptance provides cost savings and infrastructure flexibility, prompting businesses across industries to transfer their workloads to the cloud. The first leg of the journey with non-critical applications went well. However, domain data-protection issues persist when it comes to shifting core services – which use confidential data – to the public cloud. Confidential computing in the cloud is a game changer, bringing the trust required to truly utilise the cloud at scale.
The data lifecycle in the cloud comprises three stages, each requiring different levels of treatment to encrypt data for security. Data at rest refers to information that is held on a hard disc, file server, database, or other similar device. Information that moves by email, HTTP, instant messaging, or any other type of public or private communication is referred to as data in transit. Information that is opened and consumed by an application or accessible by users is referred to as data in use.

While data security is well-established for the at-rest and in-transit stages, de-identification and homomorphic encryptions, which only give limited protection, are used in-use. Confidential computing, in collaboration with the Confidential Computing Consortium, fills this gap with a new architecture and design (CCC).

Consortium for Confidential Computing

Confidential computing is the brainchild of the Confidential Computing Consortium, a consortium of companies including Microsoft, Intel, and Google that are hardware makers, cloud providers, and developers. The consortium’s common purpose is to develop tools that aid in data security. The approach is built on software and hardware security, and it extends typical data encryption at rest and in transit to in-compute. Malicious insiders, network vulnerabilities for hardware, and software-based technology that could be compromised are all protected by the encrypted in-compute solution.

The original concept, which required specific hardware, has been improved for cloud usage. The goal is to create cross-platform tools for secure computing in order to make it easier to conduct computations in enclaves — a trusted execution environment (TEE) created by combining hardware, operating system, and other programmes.

What Is Confidential Computing and How Does It Work?

Modern applications typically focus on data security at rest and in transit via encryption, leaving data in use vulnerable. Confidential computing is concerned with protecting data while it is in use, particularly when it is processed in memory. The goal is to be able to handle data in memory while keeping it encrypted (to the world outside memory). This minimises the risk of sensitive data being exposed. Only when code on the system permits a user to access data is it unencrypted. This is done to ensure that a cloud service provider will never have access to any client data. Administrators of the computer and database are not included in the exclusion. This layer of security ensures that the enclave or TEE may be trusted completely.

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