With confidential computing, the greatest opportunity is the ability to process sensitive data in the public cloud. Moving forward, the space will face some hurdles. Red Hat’s Bursell says it’s important to note as confidential computing is beginning to gain visibility within the industry, some companies and providers are advertising services that don’t and can’t assure that data and applications are protected, but they’re labelling them “confidential computing” anyway. “This is an issue that the industry needs to grapple with as demand rises and more services are offered,” Bursell says.
Appgate’s Gravel points to the fact that standards may be needed. “As with any new technology, many vendors of software and hardware and forging ahead with their own versions of the technology, leaving customers without standards to consider around implementation and support,” she says. “Each hardware vendor, chip vendor, or software vendor has their own methods of handling things, and until consumers and the marketplace demand differently, this will remain a challenge.”
Challenges aside, confidential computing will be important to the future of cloud computing, and industry collaboration will help it reach its potential. The next step in supporting this “next-step” technology is to define standards in the space. “Cloud providers, hardware manufacturers, and software vendors all need to work together to define standards for the application of confidential computing,” Google’s Cerf says. “It is expected that there will be multiple implementations of the confidential computing concept, and the ability to apply this technique across clouds is an obvious possible next development.”
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