What you need to know about confidential computing

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With a compound annual growth rate of up to 95.6% between 2021 and 2026, confidential computing is set to become one of the hottest cybersecurity trends over the next few years, especially in the high-risk sectors (and some of our most important ones). ), such as finance and healthcare.

Let’s see how this is a game changer when it comes to storing confidential data and which companies are leading this innovative path.

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What is Confidential Computing?

Digitization has always come with a dilemma of what happens to personal information. Events like the Cambridge Analytica scandal and numerous accounts from large organizations whose systems have been hacked highlight the risks of using computers and technology.

It’s bad enough on an individual level – no one wants their bank details or private photos stolen. But for businesses and governments, the consequences of accessing sensitive information are even more worrying. And there’s a reason to worry – a report found that the number of data breaches in 2021 increased by 17% compared to 2020. So the problem, it seems, is here to stay.

Confidential computing offers a solution by protecting data while it is in use. Unlike most encryption methods, it focuses on data that is still being processed (while it remains unencrypted in memory) rather than after. Specifically, it isolates sensitive information and places it in a separate, protected enclave, usually using cloud technology. Then, no one can access the data without authorized application code – and if unauthorized code (such as malware) tries to enter, they are denied access.

Related: A Business Leader’s Beginner’s Guide to Cybersecurity

How confidential computing could change the world

Understanding confidential computing theory is a good start, but to fully understand its potential, you need to look at use cases. Since the term itself has “confidential” in its name, the method is an extension of cybersecurity. Since nearly every business now relies on cybersecurity to look after their data at some level, applications could reach just about any sector or industry; however, it is more beneficial for businesses that face the highest risks when processing data, such as financial and healthcare companies.

Finance

Financial services like banks have always been the target of hacking attacks, potentially resulting in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars. It is therefore a natural place to implement serious cybersecurity measures.

Confidential computing would allow different financial institutions to exchange data without making them vulnerable – for example, banks could share data and perform analysis, allowing them to identify potentially suspicious patterns, which would facilitate earlier detection cases of fraud.

Health care

Our health is crucial to virtually everything we do in life, and sharing data with healthcare providers is unavoidable. But sharing it in the wrong hands, like information about our DNA or diseases, could cause serious problems. Cybersecurity is vital here, and confidential computing could provide a solution by protecting data even when healthcare professionals use it.

Confidential computing could pave the way for uses of data previously deemed too risky. For example, collecting data on patients in critical condition and using AI to find patterns and understand what they may be suffering from. Meanwhile, healthcare organizations have been sadly slow to adapt to these new technologies, in part due to the complications of securing data.

Related: Cybersecurity Practices That Protect Your Small Business

Leading companies

Not surprisingly, some of the biggest names in technology and computing are leading the way when it comes to confidential computing.

Google Cloud is Google’s confidential computing offering and allows customers to encrypt their data as they use it through advanced processors. Plus, it allows people to collaborate without compromising security, which is crucial for businesses that run dynamic processes.

Then there’s IBM, which offers a range of confidential IT services, including IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Cloud Services (providing end-to-end protection), IBM Cloud Data Shield (for containerized applications), and Secure Execution for Linux (for hybrid cloud environments).

Another name to watch out for is Microsoft Azure, Microfot’s cloud computing service for protecting business and consumer data as they use it. Microsoft stores data in hardware and processes it after verifying the cloud environment to ensure security.

But there are also lesser-known companies with promising innovations. One of them is leading Israeli cyber company Hub Security, which uses a variety of hardware and software solutions to store data, as well as artificial intelligence tools to continuously monitor data and model potential threats. This could help solve some of the health and financial issues described earlier.

Hub has already approved a merger with a special purpose acquisition company worth $1.28 billion. The deal will give Hub $172 million to fund its operations and potential money from institutional investors in Israel and the United States. The deal shows that investors recognize its potential – when it comes to picking early winners in confidential computing, that seems to be one to watch.

Related: How Cybersecurity Firms Can Appeal to a Digitally Tired World

A more confidential future?

As Confidential Computing reinvents the way business and security are conducted across various industries, the companies at the heart of the industry that provide the technology and tools needed for Confidential Computing are set to thrive and grow. grow rapidly.

Sherry J. Basler