The inexorable move towards the cloud continues apace, and something that remains a key concern is security.
Microsoft thinks it may have come up with a solution in the form of Verifiable Confidential Cloud Computing, or VC3, which has been designed to keep cloud data encrypted and secure even when the data is being used to perform calculations.
Described as a "lockbox in the cloud", VC3 keeps data protected by using secure, managed hardware to perform any necessary decryption. Encrypted data is transferred to VC3-managed cloud hardware where it is then decrypted, used in calculations, and then re-encrypted.
It's not quite round the clock encryption, but it's as close as you could really expect. The team behind VC3 explains that with the security in place, any encrypted data is visible only to the authorised owner - malicious hackers and even the company managing the hardware remain locked out. This offers a levels of protection from the inside, helping to eliminate the risk of disgruntled employees accessing data they shouldn't.
Researchers presented their work in a paper at the 36th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy. It's something that will be of particular interest to financial institutions who need to be sure that data sent back and forth has not been interfered with or intercepted.
The system offers greater protection at more points than is currently offered, and the team working on VC3 says data remains secure even if a machine becomes compromised.
Check out the video above where Microsoft researchers talk about the importance of cloud encryption: