100 Customers Lead the Way: Expanding Confidential Computing Across Platforms and Clouds

Published:Jan 26, 2022
Reading Time:5 Minutes

Today Fortanix announced Particle, the edge-to-cloud IoT platform built to connect the unconnected, as our 100th production customer for Confidential Computing. This is a true milestone for Fortanix and for the industry, and further proof of the power of Confidential Computing in the face of constantly evolving security threats. Fortanix has now helped more customers deploy and use Confidential Computing than any other solution vendor. It is amazing to see the vision which Fortanix was founded upon come so far, with the support of so many customers, partners, and Fortanix employees.

While Fortanix was the first company dedicated to the development and application of Confidential Computing technology we are still only getting started. Let me share some of the progress we have made and what comes next.

What Are 100 Customers Doing with Confidential Computing?

The very first engineer hired at Fortanix in 2016 was a university researcher working on Intel SGX in a lab, as that was the only place you could find anyone working on what we now call Confidential Computing (he still works here, BTW). Fast forward, and what are one hundred customers doing with Confidential Computing today? They are using it to solve a broad range of data security and privacy use cases, on-premises and in the cloud, for data at rest and in use.

One of the world’s largest energy companies has implemented centralized security policy enforcement across their on-premises and Azure environment. A global wealth management company protects privacy of their Swiss banking customers. A medical testing company uses Confidential Computing to protect patient test results. A global professional services organization secures their critical data in ServiceNow integrated with Fortanix. A national banking group is deployment Fortanix as they recover from a devastating data breach that has cost over $100M.

One of my favorite projects is work we have done with BeeKeeperAI to use Confidential Computing to create an environment for developing medical AI applications using patient medical records. You can learn more about this Fortanix / Microsoft / Intel project in the case study we published.

In each case, Fortanix is helping the customer protect critical data across their increasing cloudy and distributed infrastructure. For many organizations, accelerated migration to cloud platforms has been a business side-effect of the pandemic rather than an orchestrated move, with security often taking a backseat in the process. These Fortanix customers are seeing first-hand the power of a unified platform for multi-cloud data security – a practical, immediate solution to a broad and complex set of challenges. With last summer’s announcement of Fortanix Data Security Manager, a complete on-demand solution and November announcement of Confidential AI, a secure platform for AI developers who are working with confidential data, all this is easier to achieve than ever before.

Expanding Platforms and Ecosystem: Confidential Computing Everywhere

These expanding use cases and applications demand an expanded set of platforms on which to run. As Fortanix works to make Confidential Computing pervasively available we continue to expand support for the platforms and partnership that power the Confidential Computing ecosystem.

Today Fortanix announced support for AWS Nitro Enclaves, one of the newest platforms for Confidential Computing. Fortanix enables customers to run and manage confidential workloads without any modifications on a wide range of EC2 instances that offer Nitro enclave support.

For customers running their own datacenters, Fortanix has added Cisco as our newest platform partnership. Fortanix and Cisco are working together to make it simpler and easier to consume secure enclaves and deliver enhanced benefits and secure computing architecture to joint customers.

Also announced today is work with AMD to support their Secure Encrypted Virtualization (AMD-SEV) technology. In the words of Raghu Nambiar, corporate vice president, Datacenter Ecosystem and Solutions AMD, “Confidential computing is becoming an essential component of data security, driven by regulations and the need to protect sensitive data in virtual environments. Hardware-based security, such as AMD SEV, is particularly important in the cloud as it can help isolate virtual workloads by providing encryption for data in use while requiring no application changes for the end user. We are excited to work with Fortanix and our ecosystem of other partners to help shape the future of Confidential Computing.”

The work with AMD complements our long-standing partnership with Microsoft. Fortanix operates many of our management capabilities in Azure, and you’ll find Fortanix products available in the Azure marketplace. Also, check out this session from the recent Microsoft Ignite conference, featuring Fortanix and how we helped Leidos, an IT and biomedical research company, address healthcare privacy concerns. Fortanix sees the strongest demand for Confidential Computing on Azure.

Fortanix continues to work with Google to expand the data protection available for Google Cloud. This work started in our work with Google and PayPal to create Google External Key Management (EKM). EKM integrates Fortanix Confidential Computing applications with GCP native services to give customers complete control over their data—secure from subpoenas and cloud providers. This is proving to be one of the fastest growing use cases for Fortanix, particularly in Europe.

IBM continues to offer IBM DataShield, powered by Fortanix, as its Confidential Computing environment. DataShield is in full production, in applications such as protecting electronic health records for the citizens of a large European nation.

Of course, Fortanix was founded on the power of Intel SGX—the first true platform for Confidential Computing. Our partnership with Intel has been and remains pivotal to the company’s success. We intend to take that a notch higher in 2023 as the most powerful SGX processors become generally available in the marketplace. I expect Intel SGX to continue providing the highest level of security for the most secure tasks. Further ahead is the promise of Intel TDX as another addition to the Confidential Computing technology landscape.

The net result of all this is giving customers the ability to run any application and process any data securely on the platform of their choice – what enterprises need in a “multi-everything” world.

Join Us in the Confidential Computing Journey

Each week seems to bring some novel security threat, to add to the list of threats we know well. New threats tell us that it’s time to adopt a new approach. The Fortanix team and I look forward to helping you make Confidential Computing a part of your secure 2022 and beyond.

Oh! Did I mention that in 2022 Fortanix has already bagged three awards for its contribution in the Confidential Computing and data security space?

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