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Confidential Computing

Confidential computing definition

Confidential computing is a privacy and security-focused technology that protects data while it’s being used — not just when it's stored or transmitted. It uses special hardware to create a secure, isolated area in a computer’s processor where sensitive data can be processed without being exposed. This means your data stays private and secure even when it's being worked on.

See also: autonomic computing

How does confidential computing work? 

  • The processor sets up a protected zone called an "enclave" where sensitive data can be used.
  • This enclave is isolated from the rest of the system, meaning other programs and users can’t access the data inside it.
  • Data inside the enclave is encrypted, keeping it safe from unauthorized access, even if someone manages to break into other parts of the system.
  • The computer processes the data within this secure enclave, keeping it protected throughout its use.

When to use confidential computing 

  • When handling sensitive information — financial records, personal health data, or confidential business documents.
  • When you’re processing data in the cloud and want to make sure that even the cloud provider can't access your data.
  • When multiple parties need to process data without exposing their individual datasets to each other.
  • To meet strict data protection regulations and standards that require secure data handling.