Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Microsoft Azure Cloud Security Encrypts In-Use Data

Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing Platform Gets New Security Features Microsoft introduces Azure confidential computing, a cutting-edge security platform to protect data in the cloud
Velma Reese | 17 September, 2017, 17:14

It's a public cloud service, which means data and computing power is handled off site in Microsoft's data centres, which are situated in 26 regions across the globe.

Known as Azure Confidential Computing, the service is now in an early access test and aims to provide security for cloud data while it is in use by cloud applications. Finally, data in use refers to data stored in RAM or CPU cache, and in the context of cloud computing and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), data which is being presently processed by cloud applications.

Managed Service Identity Preview The preview of Azure AD Managed Service Identity is designed as an aid for developers such that they won't have to manage security credentials when using code with various Microsoft Azure services.

Microsoft is making it harder for cyber-attackers to steal data from its cloud customers and invade their privacy with a new suite of services and features called Azure Confidential Computing, the company announced on September 14. The enhanced ability of encryption will secure data from hackers and offer protection from secret government data-gathering agencies. The first is the software-based Virtual Secure Mode found in the Hyper-V virtualization software components in Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10.

Some companies have historically been wary of moving sensitive data to the cloud because of worries about their data being attacked when it is in use.

Microsoft introduces Azure confidential computing, a cutting-edge security platform to protect data in the cloud
Azure confidential computing brings data in use encryption to the platform

At the outset, Microsoft will be supporting two types of TEE technologies. We're working with Intel and other hardware and software partners to develop additional TEEs and will support them as they become available.

Microsoft is already using Azure confidential computing platform for running their own infrastructure, blockchain financial operations and more. It's a safeguard that remains active as along as code is being executed in a TEE. It's an "enhancement of our Always Encrypted capability", Russinovich explained.

Microsoft's announcement promised that the Azure AD Managed Service Identity is being groomed to be part of the free version of Azure AD subscriptions, so there'll be no cost for using it.

Russinovich said confidential computing has applicability in, for example, finance, where personal portfolio data and wealth management strategies would no longer be visible outside of a TEE.

Microsoft said the capability, available via an Early Access program for Azure SQL Database and SQL Server, was developed by a team at Azure along with several groups within Microsoft and Intel for the past four years. Healthcare organizations can share private patient data, like genomic sequences, to gain insights from machine learning across multiple data sets, without risk of data being leaked to other organizations. "This data is completely protected from us and from any attackers". The Intel technology isn't exclusive to Microsoft and will be sold to other customers.

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