In today’s data-driven world, data is the new crown jewel and a critical asset for any organization’s growth. Customer satisfaction and, as a result, business income and growth are directly influenced by the timely availability of this information.
The European Union’s European cybersecurity month (ECSM) campaign has once again raised awareness of online security concerns and the need for increased cyber-attack vigilance. This is especially true in light of the pandemic’s response strategies, which included a widespread shift to remote and hybrid working.
For many firms, moving to cloud computing has been a need in the last year to facilitate remote working and secure the explosion of digital data that is required to be safely stored, communicated, and processed. Businesses should now begin to consider new security advances such as confidential computing to ensure that their infrastructure does not have any ‘cracked doors’ that cyber-criminals can exploit.
When data is ‘at rest’ or ‘in transit,’ it is encrypted in a typical cloud system. However, once the data has been processed, it must be decrypted, leaving it vulnerable to attack. The trend of upgrading business-critical data has heightened concerns about this weakness, which is understandable.
Confidential computing overcomes the problem by storing data that is currently in use in a hardware-based trusted execution environment (TEE), which is a safe environment that is completely segregated from other workloads. This ensures that data is secure until the application alerts the TEE that it needs to be decrypted for processing.
Confidential computing, in effect, provides a completely locked workspace within a shared cloud environment that is completely hidden. The TEE simply blocks access if malware or other unauthorized code attempts to read the decrypted data.
A protected environment
Confidential computing has a number of advantages in addition to security. It is feasible to safely collaborate with partners utilizing confidential computing techniques, for example, without disclosing proprietary information IP. Without exposing anything they want to keep private, one organization can offer up its data to another’s proprietary tools.
Because of concerns about data exposure, many businesses have been hesitant to use a hybrid cloud solution for their most critical applications. Confidential computing solves this problem by allowing businesses to securely and efficiently communicate with partners in the cloud without having to worry about issues being kept confidential.
Encryption technologies of the highest level
With sophisticated encryption technology, enterprises can now effectively handle any security concerns. Confidential computing protects data in use while allowing extremely sensitive information to be processed on the cloud. It also allows for multi-party sharing scenarios that were previously impossible to set up due to privacy, security, and regulatory concerns.
What is evident is that the global COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting impact on how and where firms use their data. As cloud services become more generally utilized, confidential computing’s use of hardware-based approaches to separate data in use will become increasingly important.
ECSM serves as a timely reminder that all companies should analyze and upgrade their data security, with confidential computing being a part of that review. Not all implementations, however, provide the same levels of security and flexibility. As a result, companies should only deal with cloud providers who provide services that match their technical and business needs.
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