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Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft join consortium to protect in-use server data

Written by Wed 21 Aug 2019

Hardware vendors, cloud providers, developers, open source experts and academics have joined forces to advance confidential computing with a focus on the cloud

Several of the world’s largest tech companies have joined a new effort aimed at helping organisations utilise encrypted server data in-memory while isolating it from other software and applications, enabling them to more securely run applications on-premise, in remote edge sites or in the cloud.

In-memory processing refers to applications that process data directly on random access memory (RAM). While in-memory computing is far speedier than when retrieving data from disk storage, such data is often vulnerable to attack and encrypting it is considered one of the greatest challenges facing computer science today.

The newly announced group – dubbed the Confidential Computing Consortium – was announced by the Linux Foundation Wednesday with initial support from a who’s who of enterprise IT, including Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent.

The companies will work together alongside open source experts and academics on open source technologies and standards that enable encrypted data to be processed in-memory without exposing it to the rest of the system.

“The earliest work on technologies that have the ability to transform an industry is often done in collaboration across the industry and with open source technologies,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation.

“The Confidential Computing Consortium is a leading indicator of what’s to come for security in computing and will help define and build open technologies to support this trust infrastructure for data in use.”

As part of the announcement, it was revealed Intel is contributing SGX, a hardware-based technology that helps protect data in-use by establishing protected enclaves only accessible to authorised application code. Intel SGX is now available on Azure, IBM Cloud, Baidu, Alibaba Cloud and Equinix.

“The launch of the Confidential Computing Consortium is a big step in bringing this powerful security capability to a broader audience, and we are committed to working with our ecosystem customers to ease use and portability of confidential computing for developers and IT pros,” said Lorie Wigle, VP in the Architecture, Graphics and Software Group and general manager of Platform Security Product Management at Intel.

“We invite developers to learn about how to integrate Intel SGX into their applications and cloud services today, and the future of the consortium at its website.”

Written by Wed 21 Aug 2019


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