The Linux Foundation-backed Confidential Computing Consortium aims to bring stakeholders together on emerging technology focused on securing private data while it’s in use.
Valuable data is often highly secured while it’s not in use, sitting on a hard drive or solid-state drive in a server room.
But what happens when that data is actually in use, sitting in memory? Or when it has to go across the network to another machine halfway across the world? Well, a new computing industry coalition would like to clear up the air around the potential of securing data for these use cases.
Recently, a number of major tech and cloud companies—including Intel, IBM (along with its Red Hat subsidiary), Google, ARM, and Microsoft—announced that they would create the Confidential Computing Consortium, a project community that wants to help define the parameters of “confidential computing,” a concept that boosts the security around data in trusted environments, allowing for data in use to be as secure in multiple places as it is when it’s being kept in one place.
“Across industries computing is moving to span multiple environments, from on premises to public cloud to edge,” the new group explains in an FAQ. “As companies move to these environments, they need protection controls for sensitive IP and workload data and are increasingly seeking greater assurances and more transparency of these controls. Current approaches address data at rest and in transit; confidential computing will address data in use.”
The consortium, announced last week, will be managed by The Linux Foundation, and according to ZDNet, three of the organization’s largest stakeholders (Intel, IBM, and Microsoft) will donate open-source technology to the endeavor.
In a news release, Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin noted that collaborations of this nature often bear fruit that helps the entire industry get a grasp on emerging technologies.
“The earliest work on technologies that have the ability to transform an industry is often done in collaboration across the industry and with open source technologies,” Zemlin said. “The Confidential Computing Consortium is a leading indicator of what’s to come for security in computing and will help define and build open technologies to support this trust infrastructure for data in use.”
Other stakeholders in the new consortium include Alibaba, Baidu, Swisscom, and Tencent.