What is confidential computing?
There are three states in which data can be: at rest, in transit or in use. Until now, encrypting data in use was not possible. Confidential computing changes that and keeps data even encrypted at runtime in memory. In addition, with confidential computing, the integrity of workloads can be cryptographically verified using remote attestation. This combination of runtime memory encryption and remote attestation enables secure data processing, even when the computers belong to someone else.
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What are the use cases for confidential computing?
Fully isolate applications and data to eliminate infrastructure-based risks in the public cloud.
Share information in a data clean room without exposing clear text (e.g., for fraud prediction, AML).
Use (inference) and train AI models on end-to-end encrypted data, securing secrets and PII.
Confidential computing solves the trust problem of the cloud
Confidential computing can take away the risks for companies of moving to the cloud even in highly regulated industries. It can also enable new forms of innovative cloud applications and is thus poised to unlock large value in our global economies. It will also likely act as a catalyst for other disruptive technologies like AI.
Which industries can benefit from confidential computing?
Confidential computing can enable secure multi-party training of AI for different purposes, e.g. using training data from different hospitals for cancer detection. The patients’ data remains confidential during each step of the process.
Through confidential computing, a retailer and a credit card company can cross-check their customer and transaction data for potential fraud while privacy is ensured because neither of them gets access to the original data.
Public Sector & Defense
When dealing with the most sensitive data, protection must be at the highest levels possible. Confidential computing provides this security and enables the benefits of the cloud without having to trust anybody.
The telecommunication industry is responsible for critical infrastructure and is thus prone to cyber atttacks. Confidential computing ensures the highest level of data security and enables the verification of workloads.
The Industry 4.0 generates large amounts of data from sensors and other sources. With confidential computing it is possible to effectively share and analyze that data to boost productivity while ensuring privacy and security.
SaaS companies inherently rely on scalable cloud offerings and need to trust the providers with sensitive customer data. Confidential computing ensures that nobody, not even system administrators, can access that data.
Confidential computing reduces the attack surface to a minimum
An enclave’s data and code are always encrypted, not only on disk, but also in memory at runtime. The secure enclave is isolated from the main processor. Data is opaque to even those with privileges like administrators or the operating system and it is safe from alteration.
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