Edgeless Systems wants to make public clouds “the safest place for sensitive data”

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Cloud infrastructure spending continues on an upward trajectory, growing 34% year-over-year in Q4 2021 to reach $53.5 billion globally. The benefits of the public cloud are clear, as it allows businesses of all sizes to bypass costly infrastructure maintenance and deployments, and easily scale their business as demand grows.

But companies don’t always want to store data in public clouds for a number of security and privacy reasons, leading them down the path to on-premises or hybrid infrastructure where they can keep more great degree of control over their data.

One company, however, plans to turn the public cloud into “the safest place for sensitive data.”

Founded in Germany in 2020, Edgeless Systems harnesses confidential computing to help businesses store, analyze and share data without compromising privacy or security.

Confidential computing, for the uninitiated, is made possible by new hardware security features such as Intel’s SGX in server processors, which keep workloads encrypted while running and “make cryptographically verifiable integrity of these workloads,” according to Edgeless Systems co-founder and CEO Felix Schuster. .

keep confidentiality

In effect, confidential computing is all about isolating workloads from the cloud provider, so that the provider or any malicious actor cannot access the data. “It allows companies to move sensitive workloads to the cloud,” Schuster told VentureBeat. “We can create new applications that, for example, enable the secure sharing of data between suspicious parties.”

Perhaps most importantly, confidential computing deals with how to protect “data in use” – that is, data being processed – rather than data in transit or at rest. .

Edgeless Systems has so far released three confidential computing products under an open source license – Ego, EdgelessDB and MarbleRun, which can be used for a myriad of use cases, such as powering computer-based data processing. AI from connected vehicles (as Edgeless Systems did in a project in collaboration with Bosch).

MarbleRun, in particular, is a native Kubernetes control plane that simplifies “deploying, scaling, and verifying SGX-based applications.” However, MarbleRun requires the end user to modify existing services and codebases, which can be resource intensive. That’s why Edgeless Systems has now released a professional version of MarbleRun that allows anyone to set up a confidential Kubernetes environment with minimal hassle. .

Constellation, as the new product is called, represents the first commercial product from Edgeless Systems. It takes the concept of confidential Kubernetes and makes it easily accessible through a simple interface – according to Schuster, it only takes a few minutes to create a confidential Kubernetes deployment in any of the major public clouds.

“The beauty is that on the inside everything looks and feels like normal Kubernetes, while on the outside everything is end-to-end protected from the cloud infrastructure,” Schuster explained.

It should be noted that unlike MarbleRun, Constellation is not designed for SGX. Instead, it’s designed to be deployed on Intel’s upcoming TDX, AMD SEV, and AWS Nitro enclaves. “So Constellation works – or will soon work – in all major clouds,” Schuster added.

The story so far

Schuster has significant experience in the field of confidential computing since he was a researcher at Microsoft, where he worked on various projects in the field of cloud security; SGX; blockchain; and Azure Confidential Computing, including Microsoft’s Confidential Consortium Framework (CCF) for enterprise blockchain networks. Schuster left Microsoft in early 2019 to work on the foundations of what would become Edgeless Systems, a company he eventually incorporated in March 2020.

The confidential computing market is already on track to become a $54 billion business within four years, up from $2 billion today – and Edgeless Systems is preparing to capitalize on this predicted growth, after having closed a small funding round of $1.65 million last time. the summer.

Ultimately, the problem Edgeless Systems sets out to solve is one that plagues any business that manages vast volumes of data: how do you leverage the power of the public cloud without violating privacy and security regulations?

“Enterprises today cannot fully trust the public cloud because they don’t know for sure who, like hackers or malicious administrators, might be accessing their data,” Schuster said. “This issue also raises serious data privacy concerns – for example, European companies cannot store any personal data on US cloud providers’ servers due to the US CLOUD Act. With Constellation, workloads are isolated and protected from access by the infrastructure provider.”

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