According to Mark Russinovich, the Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft Azure, confidential computing is likely to become the standard for all computing operations.
He emphasized that this type of computing, which relies on trusted execution environments or secure enclaves that utilize hardware-based security measures to safeguard code and data from external sources, is the way forward for the computing industry. Russinovich also noted that confidential computing has great potential in the field of advertising.
Earlier versions of confidential computing required modifications to code to run within a secure enclave, using Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX) technology. However, recent technological advancements, such as AMD’s Secure Encrypted Virtualization-Secure Nested Paging (SEV-SNP) and Intel’s Trust Domain Extensions (TDX), now allow for the seamless migration of sensitive workloads into a protected virtual machine without code changes. This makes it easier for customers to adopt confidential computing.
Initially, confidential computing was mainly adopted by regulated industries in the public sector, healthcare, and financial services. However, there is potential for it to be used in multi-party computation and analytics scenarios. By utilizing “data clean rooms,” confidential computing can enable private and secure analysis of diverse datasets, leading to more comprehensive insights. However, concerns exist about targeted advertising and regulatory compliance regarding the sharing of personal information. Moreover, confidential computing holds promise for accelerating drug development through machine learning.
A significant advantage of confidential computing is that it can protect data in use, thus eliminating the need for data providers to anonymize information before sharing it with researchers.
The sources for this piece include an article in TheRegister.