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Fortanix, a Mountain View, California-based cybersecurity company, today announced the release of its new feature, Confidential Data Search, which enables fast and unlimited searches of encrypted data. The new software tool addresses a major challenge for companies in highly regulated industries such as finance and healthcare: how to use sensitive data to power business operations while maintaining tight privacy and compliance controls.
The company said the new product will be presented at 2023 Confidential Computing Summit on June 29 in San Francisco and will be generally available in the second half of 2023.
The launch comes at a critical time, as organizations face mounting pressure to protect their data and comply with strict privacy regulations. Richard Searle, vice president of confidential computing at Fortanix, told VentureBeat in a recent interview that seeking confidential data is “a viable solution to real business problems” facing banks and other organizations today.
Solving the data protection challenge with confidential computing
Confidential Data Search taps into confidential computing, an emerging field focused on performing complex operations on encrypted data without decrypting it. Fortanix deploys encrypted databases in Trusted Execution Environments (TEE), secure areas of computer memory where data can be decrypted and used but is inaccessible to outside systems. The queries are also encrypted to protect the identity of the analysts conducting the searches.
“Essentially, this is confidential processing using Trusted Execution Environments. What we do is deploy an image of an encrypted database within the Trusted Execution Environment where it can be securely decrypted and used to serve queries,” Searle told VentureBeat. “We also deploy the client-side SQL interface to all ‘within a confidential computer environment to protect the identity of the analyst and the nature of the query”.
Searle also said that Fortanix Confidential Data Search requires no changes to existing databases or datasets, and customers do not need to convert data to a new format. He said Fortanix has a product called Data Security Manager that enables transparent data encryption of standard enterprise databases, such as PostgreSQL and MySQL, and can implement it within confidential processing without any modifications.
He added that Fortanix has over 100 integrations for Data Security Manager, including with organizations like Snowflake and Databricks. He also said they are talking to a major cloud service provider about integrating the solution into their platform.
The future of AI security
Searle also shared his vision for the future of confidential computing and what role Fortanix will play in advancing the market. He said confidential computing will become a ubiquitous part of computing platforms, especially in emerging technology paradigms like AI and ML.
“We are doing a lot of work in artificial intelligence. We’ve done this for the past two years. Later this year, we hope to announce a couple of major developments. The first will be very fine-grained policy controls and support for large language models,” Searle told VentureBeat. “We are also working hard on implementing edge AI, particularly in view of the 6G market. Confidential computing not only at the data center level where it has traditionally been, but also now is moving to the edge as an especially important strategy.”
According to a market study by Everest Group, the Confidential Computing market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 90-95% to reach $54 billion In 2026. The study cited growing demand for data security and privacy, particularly in regulated industries such as banking, finance, insurance, healthcare, life sciences and defense, as well as the public sector.
Fortanix says its solution differs from other encrypted data storage solutions on the market, particularly in terms of performance and scalability. Searle said other solutions rely on cryptographic methods such as homomorphic encryption, which are impractical for complex datasets, or processing plaintext data and using permission controls, which are vulnerable to data breaches. data.
Fortanix has raised more than $135.5 million in funding from investors including Goldman Sachs Asset Management (Goldman Sachs) and GiantLeap Capital, as well as Foundation Capital, Intel Capital, Neotribe Ventures and In-Q-Tel. The firm has gained clients in multiple industry verticals, including some in highly regulated industries.
The company says it is committed to advancing the confidential computing ecosystem and is a founding member of the Confidential Computing Consortium, a Linux Foundation project that aims to accelerate the adoption of confidential computing technologies.
Leveraging proprietary information technology, Fortanix says it offers a fast and scalable solution that allows organizations to securely search and analyze encrypted data in use, while complying with global regulations and policies. This could give Fortanix a competitive edge over other industry players, such as Microsoft, IBM and Google, who are developing their own proprietary computing solutions. Fortanix says its vision is to “make data security simple and accessible to everyone.” With its latest innovation, Fortanix appears to be one step closer to achieving that goal.
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