As enterprises continue to transition operations to the digital sphere, security has become a key driver for the acceleration of cloud computing adoption. Following the steep rise in ransomware attacks we’ve seen in 2021 on enterprise cloud environments, many organizations are leaving their data vulnerable to attack.
Most cloud providers today offer encryption services for protecting data when it’s at rest (stored) and in transit (on the move), but many fall short. While data stored on the cloud is protected by standard encryption and third-party protocols of cloud providers, confidential computing eliminates the remaining vulnerabilities created by weak security protocols and outdated policies.
The goal of confidential computing is to provide companies with greater protection to ensure that their data in the cloud remains safe, confidential, and easily accessible.
What is Confidential Computing
Confidential computing is cloud computing technology that is designed to isolate sensitive data as it’s being processed. Before data can be processed by an application, it is unencrypted in memory, leaving its contents vulnerable just before, during and after runtime. Vulnerabilities include memory dumps, root user compromises, and other exploits, such as internal bad actors.
Confidential computing solves a host of these issues by relying on a hardware-based trusted execution environment (TEE), or secure enclaves within a CPU. With the help of TEE, highly sensitive data can remain protected in memory until an application requests it be decrypted for processing. As data is decrypted, and throughout the remaining computational process, the contents are invisible to the operating system to cloud providers and its employees.
While data stored on the cloud is protected by standard encryption and third-party protocols of cloud providers, confidential computing eliminates the remaining vulnerabilities. Additionally, when combined with storage encryption, network encryption, and a proper Hardware Security Module for key storage, cloud computing has the ability to provide end-to-end data security in the cloud.
Why Confidential Computing
- Protect Sensitive Data –– Extend cloud computing benefits to sensitive workloads for a more agile and accessible public cloud platform.
- Safeguard Intellectual Property –– Trusted execution environments can also be leveraged to protect sensitive IP, business logic and analytics functions.
- Secure Cloud Collaboration –– Collaborate with partners on new cloud solutions by combining sensitive data with another company's proprietary calculations.
- Eliminate Cloud Vulnerabilities –– Choose the cloud provider that best meets technical and business requirements by leveraging cloud computing services.
- Protect Edge Data in Transit –– When used as part of distributed cloud patterns, data and application at edge nodes can remain protected.
Hardware Security Modules & Cloud Computing
Hardware security modules safely store secure keys, payments, and other business applications in an isolated environment. The right HSM should be built for sensitive and complex approval flows, such as secure access to critical infrastructure, payments, transfer of assets, code signing, and identity management.
A confidential computing platform should be designed to provide security and privacy for your most sensitive organizational applications and data –– while stored and in transit. Investing in a programmable and customizable HSM enables companies a secure, fast and flexible environment to execute valuable AI applications, as well as general computing applications for telecom, finance, and healthcare.
Written by Eyal Moshe, CEO & Co-Founder at HUB Security