By allowing data to be stored and accessed from anywhere, cloud computing makes geography relatively meaningless, and that's usually a good thing. But what if data security policies require the enforcement of physical boundaries? That's the challenge HyTrust and Intel are now hoping to solve through an initiative focused on securing applications and data in the cloud.
The solution, which the companies are calling HyTrust Boundary Controls, allows organizations to "set policies for virtualized applications and data to enforce that they only run on a proven and trusted host that is physically located within defined parameters," according to HyTrust. "This significantly reduces the potential for theft or misuse of sensitive data, or any violation of regulatory compliance."
Setting data access policies based on geographic location is the most obviously useful feature of the platform. It will help enterprises deal with increasingly complex privacy and data-sovereignty policies that political jurisdictions are now putting in place, and allow organizations to keep specific data within the borders of a particular country.
And beyond geographical boundaries, HyTrust is also pitching the product as a way for organizations to control which types of hardware virtual applications and cloud-based data can run on. "Many organizations segment data (and their data centers) based on classification or level of confidentiality," according to the company. "For example, some security levels allow IT to ensure that PCI data only runs on virtual infrastructure classified for PCI, or that Mission A’s data is kept separate from Mission B's. HyTrust Boundary Controls permits administrators to make their own choices based on business and compliance needs."
Intel enters the picture by providing the low-level technology on which HyTrust builds its boundary-control software. Using Intel's Trusted Execution Technology, the solution can validate at the processor level which hardware, BIOS and virtualization hypervisor an application or virtual machine is running on.