What exactly is “confidential computing” and what are the reasons and benefits for using it in the public cloud environment?
Introduction to data encryption
To protect data stored in the cloud, we usually use one of the following methods:
Encryption at transit
Data transferred over the public Internet can be encrypted using the TLS protocol. This method prohibits unwanted participants from entering the conversation.
Encryption at rest
Data stored at rest, such as databases, object storage, etc., can be encrypted using symmetric encryption which means using the same encryption key to encrypt and decrypt the data. This commonly uses the AES256 algorithm.
When we wish to access encrypted data, we need to decrypt the data in the computer’s memory to access, read and update the data. This is where confidential computing comes in – trying to protect the gap between data at rest and data at transit. Confidential Computing uses hardware to isolate data. Data is encrypted in use by running it in a trusted execution environment (TEE).
Comparison of the available options
AMD SEV Architecture:
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) Confidential Computing:
Data-in-use protection on IBM Cloud using Intel SGX:
Confidential Computing: Hardware-Based Trusted Execution for Applications and Data
Google Cloud Confidential VMs vs Azure Confidential Computing
A Comparison Study of Intel SGX and AMD Memory Encryption Technology
Performance Analysis of Scientific Computing Workloads on Trusted Execution Environments
Helping Secure the Cloud with AMD EPYC Secure Encrypted Virtualization
Azure confidential computing
Azure and Intel commit to delivering next generation confidential computing
DCsv2-series VM now generally available from Azure confidential computing
Confidential computing nodes on Azure Kubernetes Service (public preview)
Expanding Google Cloud’s Confidential Computing portfolio
A deeper dive into Confidential GKE Nodes—now available in preview
Using HashiCorp Vault with Google Confidential Computing
Confidential Computing is cool!
Data-in-use protection on IBM Cloud using Intel SGX
Why IBM believes Confidential Computing is the future of cloud security
Alibaba Cloud Released Industry’s First Trusted and Virtualized Instance with Support for SGX 2.0 and TPM