IBM Security Launches Emerging Encryption Service

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

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

With the growth of hybrid cloud, sensitive data will be even more broadly stored, shared and analyzed across platforms and parties, exposing it to varying security controls and risks. 

While current encryption techniques allow data to be protected during storage and in transit, data must be decrypted while it is being processed or analyzed—creating a window of opportunity where data is more vulnerable to theft or exposure.

FHE is an emerging and advanced encryption technology that allows data to remain encrypted even while it’s being processed, potentially closing this critical gap in current encryption solutions being used today.

“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,” said Sridhar Muppidi, chief technology officer, 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 sensitive data, without compromising its privacy.”

Building on groundwork and tools developed IBM Research and IBM Z, the new IBM Security Homomorphic Encryption Services provide a scalable hosting environment on IBM Cloud, along with consulting and managed services to help clients begin learning about and designing prototype solutions which can take advantage of FHE.

As FHE technology advances, these solutions can allow companies to apply functions like search, analytics, and AI to their sensitive data in an environment, without revealing that data to the underlying service—helping them to maintain existing compliance and privacy controls as part of a “zero trust” security strategy.

Additionally, FHE is based on lattice cryptography which is considered “quantum safe”—or resistant to breakage by future quantum-computing speeds. 

As part of this service, IBM will work closely with clients to further develop new prototype solutions and use cases that can take advantage of FHE technology—with the initial offering focused on developers and crypto engineers.

Some of the initial use cases include performing analytics on encrypted data, conducting encrypted searches while concealing search query and content and training AI and machine learning models while maintaining existing privacy and confidentiality controls.

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