Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Homomorphic Encryption- The Future of Cloud Encryption?


     With the use of cloud computing continuing to grow, researchers are continuing to examine and trying to define ways to better secure information passed through cloud service providers and stored in the cloud.  One IBM researcher, Craig Gentry, developed a way to do this by using homomorphic encryption based on lattice cryptography. Basically, homomorphic encryption enables a user to manipulate data without having to decrypt it first. This breakthrough would give providers the ability to access certain aspects of the data without having full disclosure from the organization, increasing security of the information and privacy within an organization.
      This sounds great when reading about the potential to secure your information and not have to fully disclose or decrypt the message or data in order to work with it. The problem is that this method of encryption will increase the processing time drastically. “It takes many times longer to process data homomorphically while it is in the encryption box than it would to process the data in the clear” (Prince, 2009). This makes the use of homomorphic encryption impractical for business and everyday needs currently.
    
      While his development is an amazing concept it must be refined to produce computing results comparable to the ones used today for storing and managing data in the cloud. “This capability can remove barriers to practical applications that use data analysis, and improve the performance and accuracy for companies and individual users by being able to securely analyze data across company boundaries without the risk of data security breaches. But as it stands, this is a technology that’s still a ways off” (Chernicoff, 2015).
     
      Since this development is still a ways off from implementation, organizations must rely on encrypting files before storing them in the cloud ensuring all data is encrypted before transmission and stored away on a cloud based encrypted server. When the organization wants to access it, they should have a username and password setup to gain access to the server or files with all of this encryption being managed and maintained by the cloud service provider.
     
      Overall, finding ways to properly secure an organization’s data is an ongoing task for the IT professional. Researchers continue to develop innovated ways to better facilitate this need, such as the development of homomorphic encryption. While it may not be readily available currently, through refinement it may be widely used in the future.

References:

Chernicoff, D. (2015). Will Homomorphic Encryption Change Big Data Forever? Retrieved from https://www.workintelligent.ly/information/2015-3-20-will-homomorphic-encryption-change-big-data-forever/.

Prince, B. (2009). IBM Discovers Encryption Scheme That Could Improve Cloud Security, Spam Filtering. Retrieved from http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/IBM-Uncovers-Encryption-Scheme-That-Could-Improve-Cloud-Security-Spam-Filtering-135413.

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