@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

Start-Up Encrypts Data in the Cloud

It’s supposed to solve the biggest challenge for data encryption in the cloud – storing keys

A Tel Aviv start-up called Porticor that's just hit the radar says it's got a way to secure the cloud, any cloud. Fancy that, a trustworthy cloud.

And Porticor delivers its data encryption solution to IaaS and PaaS users through the cloud in minutes. Fancy that.

It's supposed to solve the biggest challenge for data encryption in the cloud - storing keys.

It promises that a user's data encryption key will never be exposed and that it can deliver data security across virtual disks, databases, distributed storage and file systems.

All this wonderfulness, called the Porticor Virtual Private Data (VPD) System, a combination of the start-up's Virtual Appliance and Virtual Key Management Service, comes complements of its patent-pending homomorphic split-key encryption technology, which is supposed to increase security by an order of magnitude through hosted key management.

It's supposed to be the industry's first solution to combine data encryption with patented key management in defense of critical data in public, private and hybrid cloud environments.

Users can supposedly kiss good-bye traditional data security solutions that require costly software licenses and create operational overhead.

Porticor's widgetry is a cost-effective virtual appliance that requires no encryption or key management experience to encrypt customers' entire data layer with a proven AES 256-bit encryption algorithm.

The start-up expects the breakthrough to mitigate concerns about adopting the cloud.

VPD may best be compared to a Swiss bank. Entry to a Swiss lockbox needs two keys: one in possession of the bank, the other in possession of the owner.

That's what Porticor does. It takes a patented split-key approach. Each data object, such as a disk or file, is encrypted with a unique key that's split in two: a master key and a specific key. The master key is common to all data objects of one application and remains the possession of the application owner and is unknown to Porticor.

The second, "specific" key is different for each data object and is stored by the Porticor Virtual Key Management Service. As the application accesses the data store, Porticor uses both keys to dynamically encrypt and decrypt the data.

When the master key is in the cloud, it is said to be homomorphically encrypted - even when in use - and can never be seen in the cloud.

This mathematical technique lets Porticor do key-splitting and key-joining without knowing the key. It only knows the encrypted form of the keys.

By leaving one encryption with the customer Porticor differs from cloud encryption solutions that put customer encryption keys in the hands of a security vendor or cloud provider.

The widgetry complies with SOX, HIPAA, PCI DDS and GLBA, and reportedly solves the issues raised by the EU Data Protection and the US Patriot Act.

Porticor's VPD system is available now. No download is required. It is deployed in the cloud and managed from Porticor's customer portal. Pricing starts at $27.50 a month per Porticor Virtual Appliance for testing and very small production environments. The largest production environments run $411 a month. It comes with or without configuration for those who like to muck around but then setup takes longer.

It supports Amazon's Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), where Porticor's virtual appliance would logically go alongside the user's application servers so the data never leaves the VPC unencrypted. Users can also snapshot their EBS disks, which are also encrypted.

Red Hat is reportedly offering the Porticor widgetry in its Cloud Foundation.

Porticor, which got started in 2010, is backed by $1 million A round from Glilot Capital. CEO Gilad Parann-Nissany said the company is working with Fortune 1000s.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

CloudEXPO Stories
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next-gen applications and how to address the challenges of building applications that harness all data types and sources.
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app security and encryption-related solutions. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University, and is an O'Reilly author.
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 12-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI and Machine Learning to one location.
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of computational needs for many industries. Their solutions provide benefits across many environments, such as datacenter deployment, HPC, workstations, storage networks and standalone server installations. ICC has been in business for over 23 years and their phenomenal range of clients include multinational corporations, universities, and small businesses.