Microsoft announced on Thursday the launch of ‘Azure Confidential Computing’, a collection of features adding new layers of data security to its cloud platform. Microsoft already spends one billion dollars a year on cyber security, and these new capabilities will reinforce their status as the most trusted cloud platform available.
Currently available via an Early Access program, Confidential Computing offers a level of security that had been missing from cloud services – encryption of data while in use, meaning that data can be processed in the cloud with the assurance that it is always under customer control. Data will be encrypted in a ‘secure enclave’ that ensures even Microsoft won’t be able to see precisely what’s on there while running on Azure. This news comes at a key time for cyber security, with high profile attacks such as the recent Equifax data breach still fresh in the mind.
Cyber security has been a much-discussed topic in 2017, with half of businesses reporting a breach of security in the last 12 months. Microsoft report that most of these attacks actually occur while data is in use, “either through administrative accounts, or by leveraging compromised keys to access encrypted data.” These new levels of security are intended to reassure those who are still wary of moving their data to the cloud that using Azure is entirely safe, including while at rest and in use. They reiterate that data will be safe from:
Malicious insiders with admin privilege
Hackers/Malware that exploit bugs in the operating system
Third parties accessing your data without consent
This announcement is a reminder that the idea that your data being ‘less secure on the cloud’ is a myth, with Microsoft constantly at the forefront of data security processes. Microsoft's corporate vice presdent for Azure and security said “It was only a few years ago when most of my customer conversations started with, ‘I can’t go to the cloud because of security. It’s not possible. And now I have people, more often than not, saying, ‘I need to go to the cloud because of security.’”
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