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Privacy in cloud computing

Microsoft spends one billion dollars per year on cybersecurity and much of that goes to making Microsoft Azure the most trusted cloud platform. From strict physical datacenter security, ensuring data privacy, encrypting data at rest and in transit, novel uses of machine learning for threat detection, and the use of stringent operational software development lifecycle controls, Azure represents the cutting edge of cloud security and privacy.

Today, I’m excited to announce that Microsoft Azure is the first cloud to offer new data security capabilities with a collection of features and services called Azure confidential computing. Put simply, confidential computing offers a protection that to date has been missing from public clouds, encryption of data while in use. This means that data can be processed in the cloud with the assurance that it is always under customer control. The Azure team, along with Microsoft Research, Intel, Windows, and our Developer Tools group, have been working on confidential computing software and hardware technologies for over four years. The bottom of this post includes a list of Microsoft Research papers related to confidential computing. Today we take that cutting edge one step further by now making it available to customers via an Early Access program.

Data breaches are virtually daily news events, with attackers gaining access to personally identifiable information (PII), financial data, and corporate intellectual property. While many breaches are the result of poorly configured access control, most can be traced to data that is accessed while in use, either through administrative accounts, or by leveraging compromised keys to access encrypted data. Despite advanced cybersecurity controls and mitigations, some customers are reluctant to move their most sensitive data to the cloud for fear of attacks against their data when it is in-use. With confidential computing, they can move the data to Azure knowing that...

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