Multi-cloud: Secure storage and data analysis of encrypted IoT data

27. April 2022

October 2021 – March 2022

Distributed data storage combined with privacy is to provide a robust and secure infrastructure when working with IoT data. Aarhus University, Chocolate Cloud and Partisia Infrastructure are working on such a technology through a Cyberboost project.

When giants like Apple and Google were founded, data had almost no business value, in stark contrast to today. But as data has become a commodity, the few tech companies have grown huge and powerful – and become the owners of a tremendous amount of data.

‘This means that suddenly there are few companies with an excess amount of data on all most everything and everyone. That power is increasingly worrying citizens, organisations, and regulators, explains Kurt Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Partisia Infrastructure.

Partisia Infrastructure is one of the partners in the Cyberboost project ‘Secure IoT Analytics powered by Multi-Party Computation and Network Coding’, supported by Cyber Hub. Together with Aarhus University and Chocolate Cloud which specialises in multi-cloud storage, Partisia Infrastructure will combine confidential storage with confidential computing, where data is distributed securely in all its possible states: In storage, in transport and during use.

‘It is an extremely important paradigm shift if you can share the trust. In this way, data may be used across the entire spectrum without actually sharing data. This is what provides a neutral platform for the next generation of tech companies’, says Kurt Nielsen.

Focus on IoT data

The goal of the project is to improve a storage solution that uses multi-cloud storage to achieve secure storage and, ideally, data analysis of encrypted IoT data. It might, for example, be data from sensors in a manufacturing company.

The cloud solution company Chocolate Cloud uses a technology to compress data stored on different servers. When data is stored on, for example, five servers, the infrastructure is robust, and data are better secured, even in the case of a cyber-attack on one of the servers, or it simply shuts down.

Partisia Infrastructure technology is based on multiparty computation (MPC) which, in recent decades, has become an important subject in the field of cryptography. MPC makes it possible to perform confidential computations on data without sharing it with others. In the same way as Chocolate Cloud’s technology, which takes place across multiple servers. Recently, Partisia Infrastructure has combined MPC with blockchain technologies that create more transparency on the use of MPC for confidential computations, Kurt Nielsen explains.

The health sector is screaming for solutions

The head of the Cyberboost project, Professor of Cryptography at Aarhus University, Ivan Damgaard, describes the project as a breakthrough:

‘The MPC technology is ground-breaking because it allows us to computate encrypted data. That way, we only need to allow access to the results needed. All other data is protected at all times.

The combination of multi-cloud storage and MPC creates a better, bigger, and more secure neutral infrastructure. It is best described as ‘an encrypted computer, just distributed’, which be used in several areas, not just for IoT data. For example, the health sector is looking for solutions especially that it requires a very high level of security to deal with citizens’ health data.

In order to reach the goal, project partners will first have to overcome some challenges, such as finding an effective method to keeping the distributed data confidential while compressing it and making it available for confidential computations with MPC. But if the goals are achieved, the project will improve all three classic parameters of cybersecurity: Confidentiality, Integrity and Accessibility.

‘We want to raise the bar for how difficult it is to hack, and with MPC and blockchain technology, we have created both confidentiality and transparency – thus preventing hackers from changing the computations’, says Kurt Nielsen.

FACTS

Project title: Secure IoT Analytics Powered by Multi-Party Computation and Network Coding

Project period: October 2021 – March 2022

Project partners: Aarhus University, Chocolate Cloud and Partisia Infrastructure

Financing (including support from Cyber Hub): DKK 368,000 (DKK 300,000)

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