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Collaboard Goes Confidential: New Possibilities in a Secure Cloud

With the rapid adoption of cloud technologies, businesses are increasingly seeking secure and efficient collaboration solutions to meet their evolving needs. Collaboard, the cutting-edge online whiteboard and collaboration software, has expanded its hosting options to include both on-premise and traditional cloud environments and a variety of confidential cloud environments. 

What is Confidential Cloud

This new offering from providers like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud enables organizations to experience unprecedented security and privacy in their collaborative efforts. 
In this article, we will explore why organizations should consider confidential cloud hosting, discuss the key differences between traditional and confidential cloud hosting, and delve into the wide range of industries that can benefit from these advanced security features, referencing insights from recent reports on confidential computing.

Why Organizations Need Confidential Cloud Hosting

Confidential cloud hosting offers several advantages that can address organizations' unique security and privacy requirements across various industries. Here are some compelling reasons why your organization should consider confidential cloud hosting:
  • Enhanced Data Security: Confidential cloud hosting provides an additional layer of security by protecting data during transit and at rest while it's being processed. Secure enclaves and hardware-based security technologies ensure that sensitive data remains encrypted even during computation, significantly reducing the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches.

  • Compliance and Regulatory Adherence: Organizations operating in regulated industries, such as healthcare, finance, and government, must adhere to stringent data protection regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and others. Confidential cloud hosting allows organizations to meet these requirements and ensures a secure environment for processing sensitive data.

  • Intellectual Property Protection: Industries such as aerospace, defense, and research institutions often deal with proprietary information and trade secrets. Confidential cloud hosting ensures that intellectual property remains secure, preventing unauthorized access and potential leaks.

  • Competitive Advantage: By adopting confidential cloud hosting, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to data privacy and security, gaining a competitive edge in the market and earning the trust of their customers and partners.

Key Differences Between Traditional Cloud Hosting and Confidential Cloud Hosting

While traditional cloud hosting offers many benefits, confidential cloud hosting goes further by providing advanced security features. Here are the key differences between the two:
  • Data Protection During Processing: Traditional cloud hosting encrypts data at rest and in transit but doesn't provide encryption during processing. Confidential cloud hosting, on the other hand, ensures that data remains encrypted even while being processed, thanks to secure enclaves and hardware-based security technologies.

  • Hardware-based Security: Confidential cloud hosting leverages hardware-based security technologies like Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) and AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) to create isolated execution environments that protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, even from privileged users or system administrators.

  • Secure Enclaves: Confidential cloud hosting utilizes secure enclaves, which are isolated execution environments that protect data during processing. These enclaves ensure that data remains encrypted and secure even while being used in computations, significantly reducing the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches.

  • Robust Key Management: Confidential cloud hosting offers more advanced key management systems, enabling organizations to securely store, manage, and rotate cryptographic keys used for data encryption and decryption. This ensures that only authorized users can access the encrypted data.

Industries Benefiting from Confidential Cloud Hosting

Collaboard's hosting options are designed to cater to the diverse needs of businesses across various industries. Confidential cloud environments are especially crucial for organizations that handle sensitive data or have strict compliance requirements, such as:
  • Aerospace and defense: Companies working on cutting-edge technologies, intellectual property, and sensitive government contracts can securely collaborate using Collaboard, ensuring data protection and compliance with regulatory requirements.

  • Military: Armed forces and defense organizations managing classified information can maintain data privacy and adhere to strict security standards by leveraging confidential cloud environments.

  • Financial institutions: Banks, investment firms, and insurance companies that process confidential financial information can benefit from confidential cloud environments' enhanced security and privacy features.

  • Healthcare providers: Hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities handling sensitive patient data can ensure better protection and adherence to regulations like HIPAA by opting for confidential cloud hosting.

  • Government agencies: Public sector organizations managing sensitive citizen information can maintain data privacy and comply with regulatory requirements by leveraging confidential cloud environments.

  • Legal firms: Law firms handling sensitive client information and case files can securely collaborate on Collaboard while ensuring data protection and privacy.

  • Research institutions: Organizations conducting research on sensitive topics and handling valuable intellectual property can use the added security and privacy offered by confidential cloud hosting, protecting their research data and findings.


Collaboard Goes Confidential with Microsoft

To become the most secure, self-hostable online whiteboard, Collaboard started 2022, a project to integrate into the confidential cloud from Microsoft.  Together with a customer from the public sector in Germany, Collaboard and Microsoft have successfully demonstrated that the online whiteboard is ready for the Microsoft Azure confidential cloud environment.

Collaboard was deployed on the open-source Kubernetes engine Constellation to scale the application with end-to-end confidentiality. Constellation makes it easy to scale containerized workloads on cloud platforms like Azure and isolates clusters from the infrastructure. In addition to using confidential VMs, this automatically comes with features like network and storage encryption and full cluster attestation.  

 “It’s great to see modern workplace applications like Collaboard run seamlessly on Constellation. By isolating entire clusters from the infrastructure, Collaboard users in the public sector and beyond can use Collaboard on any cloud just like it was deployed on their own data center. With generally-available confidential VMs, Azure provides a great foundation for confidential computing.” says Thomas Strottner - VP Business Development Edgeless Systems.

Dr. Carsten Dorgerloh-1

We are proud to share the successful integration of Collaboard, an innovative collaboration software, with Microsoft Azure's Confidential cloud environment. This achievement reflects our shared commitment to providing organizations in diverse industries with secure, efficient, and reliable solutions for their collaboration needs. By combining state-of-the-art security features and robust data protection, the integration of Collaboard with Azure Confidential cloud computing showcases how cutting-edge technology can empower businesses to collaborate confidently on sensitive projects while safeguarding data privacy. With Microsoft at the forefront of cloud technology advancements, we are thrilled to collaborate with Collaboard to offer unmatched security and seamless collaboration experiences to organizations worldwide, enabling them to reach new heights of success. 

Dr. Carsten Dorgerloh, Microsoft Deutschland GmbH


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