Microsoft Azure receives new technology for protecting in-use data

Microsoft Azure is receiving a new range of cybersecurity features which the company has cleverly dubbed as “confidential computing”. This means that the data that’s sitting there will even be protected from staff with physical access to the hardware.

With the new change, all data that’s in-use will become encrypted, with this change having been aimed at addressing the concerns of those who were previously worried about storing sensitive data in the cloud. The organisations that deal with highly sensitive data such as the health and financial sector, for example, will greatly benefit from this.

Confidential computing means that the data resting on Microsoft’s servers is hardware encrypted. It should act as a great barrier against malicious insiders with physical access to the hardware, as well as to OS bug exploits, and unauthorised third-party access.

Mark Russinovich, Microsoft’s CTO, claims it’s impossible for someone to access the data on these servers from the outside, even with a debugger. Only the authorised code is permitted to access the data, and if the code gets altered in any way, access will be denied.

According to him, healthcare organisations could benefit from the new features by being able to share private patient data in a secure manner. This would allow them to gain deeper insight by utilising machine learning.

These new secure features are built upon the Always Encrypted database engine, which  has been made available. This database engine allows data owners to view their data freely, but anyone tasked with merely managing the said data is prohibited from doing so.