IBM helps businesses prepare for next generation encryption

Encryption

IBM Security is launching a new service that allows companies to experiment with fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) -- an emerging technology that allows data to remain encrypted while being processed or analyzed in cloud or third-party environments.

IBM Security Homomorphic Encryption Services provide companies with education, expert support, and a testing environment to develop prototype applications that can take advantage of FHE.

While current encryption techniques allow data to be protected in storage and in transit, data must be decrypted while it is being processed or analyzed, exposing it to greater security and privacy risks. FHE allows data to remain encrypted even while being processed, closing the gap in conventional encryption models and opening up new avenues for sensitive data to be shared and processed by third parties and in the cloud.

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"Fully homomorphic encryption holds tremendous potential for the future of privacy and cloud computing, but businesses must begin learning about and experimenting with FHE before they can take full advantage of what it has to offer," says Sridhar Muppidi, chief technology officer at IBM Security. "By bringing IBM's cryptography expertise and resources to our clients that are driving innovation in their unique industries, we can work together to create a new generation of applications that leverage the power of sensitive data, without compromising on privacy."

The algorithms behind FHE have been under development by IBM and the broader research community for over a decade, but FHE computations were originally too slow for everyday usage -- taking days or weeks for calculations that take seconds without encryption. As industry computing power has grown exponentially, and the algorithms behind FHE have advanced, FHE is now able to be performed at seconds per bit, making it fast enough for many types of real-world use cases.

Earlier this year, IBM released tools and educational materials for developers, and have been working with select clients on early pilot programs for FHE.

You can find out more on the IBM Security site and in the video below.

Image Credit: Maksim Kabakou / Shutterstock

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