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Microsoft and 9 more tech firms team up to accelerate confidential computing adoption

Confidential Computing Consortium

Microsoft, Google Cloud, IBM, Red Hat, and more tech firms are joining hands to back a new initiative led by The Linux Foundation to speed up the adoption of confidential computing.

Called the Confidential Computing Consortium, the new initiative is a community formed by The Linux Foundation. It will bring together efforts from big tech firms on open source technologies and standards in order to define and accelerate confidential computing adoption.

The companies supporting the initiative include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent.

Enterprises around the world are moving their workloads to multiple computing environments, including on-premises, public cloud, and edge. These enterprises require protection controls for sensitive IP and workload data. They are also seeking more transparency and assurances for the controls.

However, the current computing practices don’t provide a complete encrypted lifecycle for confidential data.

The new Confidential Computing Consortium initiative will help in processing the encrypted data in memory with no exposure to the rest of the system. Confidential computing can minimize the exposure of confidential data and enable better control and transparency for users.

“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,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation.

“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.”

Also read: Microsoft and industry leaders launch new open project for service mesh interoperability

For the newly formed consortium, the hardware vendors, cloud providers, developers, open-source experts and academics will come together on a single platform. Together, they will work on influencing the technical and regulatory standards, building open source stools, which can eventually accelerate the adoption of confidential computing.

Microsoft will contribute its Open Enclave SDK which is an open-source framework that helps developers to build Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) apps.

“The Open Enclave SDK is already a popular tool for developers working on Trusted Execution Environments, one of the most promising areas for protecting data in use,” said Mark Russinovich, chief technical officer, Microsoft.

“We hope this contribution to the Consortium can put the tools in even more developers’ hands and accelerate the development and adoption of applications that will improve trust and security across cloud and edge computing.”

Intel brings to the community its Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) SDK to help app developers protect selected code and data from exposure or modification.

Whereas, Red Hat is contributing the Red Hat Enarx which is a project that provides hardware independence for securing apps using TEEs.

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