If you’ve never heard of the Confidential Computing Consortium (CCC) before, that’s because it has only recent been formed, but features some fairly notable tech companies as its key partners.

To that end Microsoft, Google Cloud, Intel, IBM, Red Hat, Alibaba Cloud, ARM, Tencent and Swisscom are working together on data protection.

More specifically the CCC is described as, “a project community at the Linux Foundation dedicated to defining and accelerating the adoption of confidential computing. It will embody open governance and open collaboration that has aided the success of similarly ambitious efforts,” the organisation’s site reads.

Microsoft’s Azure CTO, Mark Russinovich views CCC’s vision as tackling the protection of data while in-use.

“As computing moves from on-premises to the public cloud and the edge, protecting data becomes more complex,” he explains in a blog post about confidential computing.

“There are three types of possible data exposure to protect against. One is data at rest and another data in transit. While there’s always room to improve and innovate, the industry has built technologies and standards to address these scenarios. The third possible exposure – or as I like to think of it, the critical ‘third leg of the stool’ – is data in use. Protecting data while in use is called confidential computing,” he adds.

To that end the partners will be making open source contributions to CCC when it comes to tools or platforms designed for data protection.

Some of the initial contributions already mentioned include:

  • Intel Software Guard Extensions – The Intel SGX software development kit is designed to help application developers protect select code and data from disclosure or modification at the hardware layer using protected enclaves.
  • Microsoft Open Enclave SDK – This is an open source framework that allows developers to build Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) applications using a single enclaving abstraction. Developers can build applications once that run across multiple TEE architectures.
  • Red Hat Enarx – This offering provides a platform abstraction for Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) enabling creating and running “private, fungible, serverless” applications.

With this being the first such data protection open source initiative of its kind, it should be interesting to see what kinds of improvements to the industry CCC can make.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]