How To Safeguard Data At DHS Agencies By Leveraging Confidential...
Govciooutlook

How To Safeguard Data At DHS Agencies By Leveraging Confidential Computing

Gov CIO Outlook | Thursday, June 30, 2022

Innovative new data-protection technologies enable homeland security to protect sensitive information while it is actively in use.

FREMONT, CA: Homeland Security faces unique cybersecurity issues among federal agencies. To begin with, part of the information it manages is classified. Furthermore, organized crime syndicates and adversarial governments aggressively seek to steal or compromise the department's data. Another issue is that it does not function under a single mandate. Instead, it coordinates a network of interrelated organizations responsible for everything from intelligence to law enforcement, transportation, customs, immigration, and emergency response. Each organization has varying degrees of data sensitivity, vulnerability, and risk. However, all must use extreme caution when handling data.

Organizations can encrypt all corresponding data by placing an entire transaction server, database, or application in the enclave. Several public cloud companies provide a cloud solution for confidential computing. Customers can select virtual machines that encrypt data and have an attestation feature that certifies the machines' security. The service includes tools that allow enterprises to migrate existing application code into a secure computing container without rebuilding it.

Innovative data access security technology

Confidential computing is made possible by a clever hardware mechanism in the CPU that designates a portion of a computer's memory as a safe enclave. Data in the memory enclave is encrypted using a CPU-specific encryption key. It remains encrypted even when users access the data, such as to run a query or perform analytics. It is important to note that the encrypted data is only decrypted in that enclave on that CPU. Even if cyber thieves had root access to the system, they would be unable to view the data.

Unique Benefits for homeland security agencies

Confidential computing can help any business, public or private. It is well-suited to government enterprises because it addresses a crucial concept of zero-trust security, which binds security to the data. Confidential computing safeguards information by encrypting it, regardless of the system or network it is on or who is accessing it. However, confidential computing holds particular promise, which frequently has specialized requirements for data use. It interacts with numerous government agencies and private-sector businesses and can use confidential computing to share data bi-directionally without revealing it.

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