What’s Behind Confidential Computing and Why It’s Important for the Enterprise

There have been many terms used over the years to express the notion of a computing environment where integrity is provably private and secure—from hardware to software execution to data processing. In fact, there have been so many that it’s easy to be confused.

You may have heard the term confidential computing in the news recently. It’s gained traction over the last year, largely due to two major events. First, was the establishment of the Confidential Computing Consortium (CCC) in late 2019, under the auspices of The Linux Foundation. The member list, which includes Microsoft, Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA, as well as Anjuna Security, has doubled over the last year to dozens of vendors.  

Second, major industry players are announcing offerings in this space. Microsoft Azure adopted confidential computing as the formal name for their Azure confidential computing cloud service offering. Google recently introduced Google Cloud Confidential Computing with Confidential VMs. 

What is Confidential Computing?

From a technical perspective, confidential computing has put focus on technology securing data in use, specifically by securing memory, in the effort to eliminate data’s fatal flaw. Confidential computing is an approach that uses secure enclave technology to enable the creation of a trusted execution environment (TEE) based on security features provided by CPU vendors. This includes encryption/decryption within the CPUs, memory and data isolation, and other security features that vary by CPU vendor.

That’s an important focus, but it leaves the problem of how to make this technology available and useable by actual businesses. Other technologies will need to be built into the confidential computing framework to enable businesses to realize the potential significant security benefits of, for example, new secure cloud infrastructure.

How Can Enterprises Adopt Confidential Computing? 

Anjuna Enterprise Enclaves is one such starting point. Anjuna software takes foundational confidential computing technology and extends it to create a secure environment in which applications which generally need storage and network communication can run as is, can run without modification. Even more importantly, Anjuna software enables these applications to operate independent of the underlying technology, which allows wider deployments across multiple cloud vendors. This creates an easy on-ramp to virtually any confidential computing cloud for any business.

 


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