Why Confidential Computing is the Next Frontier in Data Security

ravi sharma fortanix
Ravi Sharma
Published:Nov 15, 2021
Reading Time:14 Minutes

As a market leader in confidential computing, Fortanix understands just how valuable the technology can be. But that value became much clearer with the release of a market study from the Linux Foundation and the Confidential Computing Consortium, conducted by Everest Group.

Among the study’s key findings: the confidential computing market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 90%-95% through 2026, making it a $54 billion market. Even under the study’s potential worst-case scenario, the market will grow at a 40% to 45% rate annually for the next five years.

The ‘Why’ Behind Confidential Computing

This begs the question – what is driving such an optimistic outlook?

The simple answer is the need for richer data without compromising privacy or security. Organizations of all types and sizes want to leverage their data – even ultra-sensitive data – for their own use and to collaborate with other businesses. This is data that can bring advancements in critical research and the development of new solutions for health, productivity and improving people’s lives. Confidential Computing provides highly secure and better ways to use even the most sensitive data in highly regulated industries.

Confidential computing is already in high demand in a number of key industry sectors, including banking, financial services, and healthcare. Each of these industries have both huge quantities of very confidential information and a real need to safely use that data. In practice, organizations in any industry can benefit from confidential computing by keeping their data secure whether it is at rest, in motion or in use.

Related Read: Fortanix Confidential Computing Manager 3.0

In fact, as we see it, confidential computing could well have helped prevent some of the high-profile data breaches in recent months. We continue to see data breaches resulting from gaps in infrastructure security. It’s very hard to protect infrastructure – there are just too many points of vulnerability. Confidential computing takes a different approach by focusing on protecting the data, even when it is in use, which simply isn’t possible using any other technology.

Related Read: Confidential Computing with Real-Time Data Streams

What is the Confidential Computing Consortium, and What Was Its Role in This Report?

The Confidential Computing Consortium (CCC) is a community focused on projects securing data in use and accelerating the adoption of confidential computing through open collaboration. The group brings together hardware vendors, cloud providers, and software developers to accelerate the adoption of Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) technologies and standards.

A project community at the Linux Foundation, the CCC is dedicated to defining and accelerating the adoption of confidential computing and aims to embody open governance and open collaboration that has aided the success of similarly ambitious efforts. This includes commitments from numerous member organizations and contributions from several open-source projects.

The CCC brings together more than 50 of the world’s technology leaders, working together in making confidential computing have a real impact on both businesses and people. This includes a “who’s who” list of some of the biggest names in industry, including Accenture, ANT Group, ARM, Facebook, Google, Huawei, Intel, Microsoft, and Red Hat.

As it relates to the report, CCC member companies earlier this year had a growing sense that confidential computing was going from theoretical discussions to practical applications – one more consequence of post-pandemic security. The group decided to look for an industry analyst firm that had data to see if this was actually true and decided to partner with Everest Group based on its broad and deep knowledge base well beyond the CCC, from which they have been able to build this research.

What People Are Saying

Here is a taste of what some industry experts are saying in response to the report’s findings:

Stephen Walli, governing board chair, Confidential Computing Consortium:
“Enterprises are rapidly moving data to the cloud which has dramatically altered their security needs to protect their sensitive data at rest, on the network, or in use in secure protected computation. The needs of protecting and managing sensitive data throughout the life cycle, coupled with industry regulations, and the proliferation of cyber risks, positions Confidential Computing to become a de facto technology for computational security.”

Abhishek Mundra, practice director, Everest Research:
“While the adoption of Confidential Computing is in the relatively nascent stage, our research reveals growth potential not only for enterprises consuming it, but also for the technology and service providers enabling it.”

David Greene, outreach committee chair, Confidential Computing Consortium, and CRO, Fortanix:
“The ability to utilize and share rich data without compromising security and privacy can help accelerate the advancement of solutions and services that benefits both industry and consumers. For example, some of the use cases the report identifies is collaborative analytics for anti-money laundering and fraud detection, research and analytics on patient data for drug discovery and treatment modeling, and security for IoT devices.”

Ambuj Kumar, co-founder, Fortanix:
“The power of rich data for research, collaboration and advancements of solutions in security sensitive industries has been at odds with the essential need for data privacy. The potential for Confidential Computing to bridge that divide is reflected in the tremendous adoption rates projected for this technology.”

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