What You Need to Know About Confidential Computing


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With an expected compound annual growth rate of up to 95.6% between 2021 and 2026, confidential computing is poised to become one of the most prominent cybersecurity trends in the coming years, especially in high-risk sectors (and some of our most important). ), such as finance and healthcare.

Let’s see how the game is changing when it comes to storing sensitive data and which companies are blazing the trail.

Related: Cybersecurity is no longer an option. Your money is in immediate danger.

What is confidential computing?

Digitization has always come with a dilemma about what happens to personal information. Events such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal and numerous accounts of major organizations having their systems hacked highlight the risk we take when using computers and technology.

It’s bad enough on an individual level: nobody wants their bank details or intimate photos stolen. But for businesses and governments, the consequences of accessing sensitive information are even more worrisome. And there’s reason to worry: a report found that the number of data breaches in 2021 grew by 17% compared to 2020. So the problem, it seems, is here to stay.

Confidential computing offers a solution by protecting data while it is still in use. Unlike most encryption methods, it focuses on data that is still being processed (when it remains unencrypted in memory) rather than afterwards. More specifically, it isolates sensitive information and places it in a separate, secure enclave, typically using cloud technology. Then, no one can access the data without authorized application code, and if unauthorized code (such as malware) tries to get in, they are denied access.

Related: A Business Leader’s Beginner’s Guide to Cyber ​​Security

How confidential computing could change the world

Understanding the theory of confidential computing is a good start, but to fully understand its potential, you need to look at the use cases. Since the term itself has “confidential” in the name, the method is an extension of cyber security. Since almost every business relies on cybersecurity to look after their data at some level, the applications could reach almost any sector or industry; however, it is most beneficial to companies that face the highest risk when handling data, such as financial and healthcare companies.

finance

Financial services such as banks have always been the target of hacking attacks, which can lead to losses of hundreds of millions of dollars. So it’s a natural place to implement serious cybersecurity measures.

Confidential computing would allow different financial institutions to exchange data without leaving it vulnerable; for example, banks could share data and perform analytics, which would allow them to identify potentially suspicious patterns, making it easier to detect cases of fraud earlier.

Health care

Our health is crucial to virtually everything we do in life, and sharing data with healthcare providers is inevitable. But sharing it in the wrong hands, such as information about our DNA or diseases, could cause serious problems. Cyber ​​security is vital here, and confidential computing could provide a solution by protecting data even when used by healthcare professionals.

Confidential computing could pave the way for uses of data that were previously considered too risky. For example, collecting data on critically ill patients and using AI to find patterns and understand what they might be suffering from. Meanwhile, healthcare organizations have been notoriously slow to adapt to these new technologies, in part because of the complications of protecting data.

Related: Cybersecurity Practices That Protect Your Small Business

Companies leading the way

Not surprisingly, some of the biggest names in technology and IT are leading the way when it comes to confidential computing.

Google Cloud is Google’s confidential computing offering and allows customers to encrypt their data while using it using advanced CPUs. It also allows people to collaborate without compromising security, which is crucial for businesses that run dynamic processes.

Then there’s IBM, which has a range of confidential computing services, including IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Cloud Services (providing end-to-end protection), IBM Cloud Data Shield (for containerized applications) and Secure Execution for on Linux (for hybrid cloud environments). .

Another name to watch is Microsoft Azure, Microfot’s cloud computing service to protect business and consumer data while they use it. Microsoft stores data on hardware and processes it after verifying the cloud environment to ensure security.

But there are also lesser-known companies with some promising innovations. One of them is leading Israeli cyber company Hub Security, which uses a variety of hardware and software solutions to store data, along with AI tools to monitor data and continuously model potential threats. This could help solve some of the health and financial problems outlined above.

Hub has already approved a $1.28 billion merger with a special-purpose takeover company. The deal will give Hub $172 million to fund its business and potential money from institutional investors in Israel and the US. The deal shows that investors recognize its potential; in terms of choosing the first winners in confidential computing, it seems to be something to watch out for.

Related: How cybersecurity companies can appeal to a digitally weary world

A more confidential future?

As confidential computing reinvents the way business and security are conducted across multiple industries, companies at the center of the industry, providing the technology and tools needed for confidential computing, are poised to thrive and grow fast



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