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Tuesday, April 06, 2021

IBM Bullish on Homomorphic Encryption

Yet more interest in this technique by major players.

IBM bets homomorphic encryption is ready to deliver stronger data security for early adopters

By Chris O'Brien In Venturebeat

The topics of security and data have become almost inseparable as enterprises move more workloads to the cloud. But unlocking new uses for that data, particularly driving richer AI and machine learning, will require next-generation security.

To that end, companies have been developing confidential computing to allow data to remain encrypted while it is being processed. But as a complement to that, a security process known as fully homomorphic encryption is now on the verge of making its way out of the labs and into the hands of early adopters after a long gestation period.

Researchers like homomorphic encryption because it provides a certain type of security that can follow the data throughout its journey across systems. In contrast, confidential computing tends to be more reliant upon special hardware that can be powerful but is also limiting in some respects.

Companies such as Microsoft and Intel have been big proponents of homomorphic encryption. Last December, IBM made a splash when it released its first homomorphic encryption services. That package included educational material, support, and prototyping environments for companies that want to experiment.

In a recent media presentation on the future of cryptography, IBM director of strategy and emerging technology Eric Maass explained why the company is so bullish on “fully homomorphic encryption” (FHE).

“FHE is a unique form of encryption, and it’s going to allow us to compute upon data that’s still in an encrypted state,” Maass said.  ... " 

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