Trillions of GBs of data is being produced every single day all over the world. So where is all this data going? It is essentially being stored in the cloud, hosted by giants like Google, Microsoft, etc. If large corporations need to use their data, they usually bring it down from the cloud and process it on their local machine after decrypting it.
This is a huge bottleneck as the data is downloaded from the cloud and decrypted each time it needs to be used. As Fahmida at IEEE has explained, data can be protected at 3 stages; at rest, in transit, and while being used. Most data is protected at rest through encryptions etc. which is very slow.
This also stops corporations from using the cloud to process their data. The data would have to be decrypted in the cloud before being used which is a huge security risk. The answer? Confidential Computing.
So what is Confidential Computing?
Confidential computing is the protection of data while it is being used. This means that data is stored in encrypted format in the memory and only decrypted while it goes to the CPU. This requires the use of special hardware that automatically encrypts and decrypts data before and after it is used.
Why are IBM and others investing heavily in this?
The reason is pretty simple. Your data is sensitive and you produce a lot of it but you don’t have the processing power to analyze it. You don’t want to give it to Google for example as they might use it for themselves. Confidential Computing will allow users with sensitive data to easily use other machines to meet their needs. No security risks, no data leaks, nothing.
This opens up a whole avenue for giants like IBM, Google, Intel, etc. As IBM’s CTO said,
“This is part of what we view as unlocking the next generation of cloud adoption. It’s very much about getting clients to look not just at the first really obvious consumer mobile app kind of things to do on a public cloud. There’s a second generation of cloud workload considerations that are more at the core of these businesses that relate to more sensitive data. That’s where security needs to be considered upfront in the overall design.”