IBM Security has launched new encryption services that allow companies to experiment with an emerging technology to secure data even while it's being processed or analyzed in cloud or third-party environments.
The 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 fully homomorphic encryption (FHE). IBM’s intention is to bring FHE to a broader audience to help companies get started with the technology.
The services are built on tools developed by IBM Research and IBM Z, (IBM’s family of z/architecture mainframe computers) and provide a scalable hosting environment on IBM Cloud. The package includes consulting and managed services to help clients design prototype solutions leveraging FHE technology, officials said.
The services include access to both the tools and expertise needed to get started with FHE, including:
- FHE tools developed by IBM Research, which provide templates for common FHE use cases, such as encrypted search, AI and machine learning.
- Guidance, consulting and education support from IBM cryptography experts, helping companies build the skills needed to design and work with FHE-enabled applications.
- A scalable hosting environment on IBM Cloud for developers to begin experimenting and building prototypes for their own FHE-enabled applications.
IBM said it will work closely with clients to further develop new prototype solutions and use cases that can take advantage of FHE technology, initally offering assistance to developers and crypto engineers. Some of the initial use cases include performing analytics on encrypted data.
Current encryption techniques protect data during storage and in transit but it must be decrypted while it is processed or analyzed, leaving it potentially vulnerable to hackers. However, IBM said, by enabling data to carry encryption throughout the entire process, FHE closes any gaps in existing encryption solutions.
Businesses will need to experiment with FHE technology before taking advantage of its encryption potential, said Sridhar Muppidi, IBM Security’s chief technology officer. "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 Muppidi said. "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."
IBM said it has been piloting FHE programs with a select group of clients following a set of tools and educational materials for developers it released earlier this year.