All You Need to Know About Confidential Computing

Many heads of IT and security departments are thinking about data breaches in terms of not if but when they will happen. These breaches impact virtually all companies in all industry sectors, and some threats have evolved faster than companies have been able to adapt, particularly during the pandemic.

Everyone knows they want to avoid a data breach where they could lose revenue and customer confidence, which can be hard to re-establish. A recent study calculated the average cost of a data breach in the U.S. at $8.64 million. It also takes the greater part of a year to pinpoint the breach and close off the vulnerability, with the company losing money and trust during that period.

That brings us to our key question: What is confidential computing, and how can it protect against data breaches?

The Basics of Confidential Computing

While the term confidential computing may sound like it refers to the activities of individual end-users, it encompasses many facets of data security. Encryption protects data while in transit or at rest, preventing it from being used by malicious actors even if the interception is successful.

However, data is vulnerable in a decrypted state, which it must be in order to be processed by applications and viewed by authorized users. At this time, hackers typically gain access to the data through illicit means, using a wide variety of tools and techniques.

Why is confidential computing important? It allows data processing to continue as usual but closes off the process from an external view, protecting it from outside access. This enclave aspect is undetectable to all parties, including the computer or cloud platform hosting the data processing.

Data isn't the only thing that gets compromised when there is a breach. They have the potential to have considerable detrimental effects on the image and reputation of a firm, both with regard to its rivals and its customers. Because of the Internet of Things and the proliferation of more compact and portable mobile devices that are capable of managing a wide variety of sensitive data, data management is also becoming steadily more scattered and disseminated over a wider range of geographical locations.

Staying Compliant with Industry Regulations

Several sectors in the United States economy are subject to restrictions imposed by either the federal government or individual states. Despite the pressure from the outside world, they may still want to keep the data secret. This is made easier by confidential computing, which decides on behalf of the firm. There are confidential computing use cases that offer security while still satisfying the regulatory requirements placed on various businesses, such as banking and healthcare. These needs may be met using confidential computing.

Enterprises can work with outside IT developers or in-house talent to create programs customized to the company's needs, based both on their business practices and regulatory compliance. The federal government itself has an elevated need to keep data secure, so they need to have their own policies in place, with applications developed with the help of private companies.

Because of how their business works, companies that deal with parts of decentralized finance like blockchain always have to handle many transactions. Keeping these secure from external forces is crucial both to the enterprise and the customer, and it's a challenge that confidential computing can meet.

Ransomware attacks often target hospitals and other healthcare providers. Confidential computing helps guard against these, preventing unauthorized access to patient data and payment records, which ransomware creators can hold hostage until they receive their demands.

All effective, confidential cloud computing and security applications are usually laid out and planned. There should always be pre-determined measures, procedures, and policies to safeguard data and remain proactive in holding off hackers. No security team member should guess what to do in the event of a hack or other attack. Both automated and human-run systems should be able to swing into action, with everyone playing their part to minimize damage and lock unauthorized users out of the system.

Another benefit of keeping data secure is its reduction of the company's liability. Unsecured transactions and data breaches that harm customers can lead to lawsuits and other negative affects. Confidential computing protects against hackers and further consequences of a breach beyond its immediate effects.

Effectively Implementing Privacy and Confidential Computing

When confidential computing is used effectively, department heads can confidently tell their shareholders, customers and employees that their data, and bottom line, are protected. Enterprises with secure data and transactions see their customer base grow and their stock price increase.

When a situation arises where a company wishes to share confidential data, confidential computing allows sharing while still maintaining security. This will enable companies to continue innovating and collaborating without compromising data integrity.

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