What is Confidential Computing?

The rise in the demand for cloud-based services has made the need to provide highly secure cloud computing relatively urgent. That’s also because most businesses that work with sensitive data view the transition to the cloud with fear, which is not entirely without good reason.
confidential computing

Well, nowadays, in an effort to protect data better in all its forms, a handful of technology companies are going all-in on a new security model which is being called ‘confidential computing’.

What is Confidential Computing?
You must be aware that when you send data to someone else’s computer, they can do what they like, regardless of what they tell you. This means you’ve got no way of knowing what they do with the data.

This is where confidential computing comes into play. The confidential cloud employs the technologies to establish a secure and impenetrable cryptographic perimeter that seamlessly extends from a hardware root of trust to protect data in use, at rest, and in motion. This means it allows you to relinquish the right to control or change data and will be able to prove that you’re the one who did it.

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Consequently, all senders of data will be comfortable sharing data to your computer as they know the data will be processed in a secure enclave within your computer where you cannot change the data or see the data, as the data is processed only within the agreed manner.

Let’s dig deeper because there are still a few features that need to be pointed out. The owner of the computer gets to choose the programme that runs within that secure enclave. The sender of the data also gets to audit it, to say whether or not they are happy to send their data to that programme within that secure enclave. This is because most senders are likely to rely on third-party auditors to offer such services.

And unlike traditional layered security approaches that place barriers between data and bad actors or standalone encryption for storage or communication, a confidential cloud delivers strong data protection that is inseparable from the data itself. This helps in eliminating the need for traditional perimeter security layers while putting data owners in exclusive control wherever their data is stored, transmitted, or used.

Also Read: How to Optimize the Cost of Cloud Computing

How Does Confidential Computing Work?
Normally, service providers encrypt data when it’s stored or transferred, but the data is no longer encrypted when it’s in use. This is where Confidential Computing focuses on securing data while it’s in use, and specifically when data is processed in memory. Its goal is to allow data to be processed in memory while that data is still encrypted, thus reducing exposure of any sensitive data. So technically, the only time data is unencrypted is when a code on a system allows a user to access it. This means that the data is hidden from the cloud provider as well.

Talking about its uses, Confidential computing can have many, including:
– Protecting data from malicious attackers
– Making sure data complies with legislation such as GDPR
– Ensuring safety of data such as financial data, encryption keys or any other data that needs to be secure
– Making sure data in use is protected when migrating workloads to different environments
– Allowing developers to create applications that can be moved across different cloud platforms

Recommended Read: The Rising Pace for Cloud-Based Cybersecurity

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