Wednesday, 30 September 2015 22:18

Acronis and ID Quantique’s quantum leap into cloud data encryption

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Quantum-safe crypto solutions and the arrival of quantum computing might still sound like they’re from a Bond movie but Acronis and ID Quantique are ready.

Acronis is well known as a consumer, business and enterprise-class, next-generation data protection company, but not everyone may be as familiar with ID Quantique.

ID Quantique claims to be the ‘world leader in quantum-safe crypto solutions designed to protect data for the long-term future,’ providing ‘quantum-safe network encryption, secure quantum key generation and quantum key distribution solutions and services to the financial industry, enterprises and government organisations globally.’

The company has also commercialised a ‘quantum random number generator, which is the reference in the gaming and lottery industries,’ as well as being a leading provider of optical instrumentation products - most notably photon counters and related electronics - with the company’s photonic solutions used in both commercial and research applications.

So, we’re not talking about some nascent start-up but a serious player across several spaces which is joining forces with Acronis, itself a serious player, with both companies having announced a joint collaboration ‘to help protect companies from future security threats related to advances in decryption techniques and the arrival of quantum computing.’

Indeed, both companies will ‘bring quantum-safe encryption capabilities to Acronis cloud solutions,’ which Acronis claims makes it ‘the first cloud data protection solution provider in the industry to do so.’

Besides sounding extremely safe, what are the specifics that these capabilities will deliver?

We’re told they will ‘help companies protect the increasing amount of data that is outside of the company firewall and on multiple mobile devices, while also preventing unauthorised users – including hackers and cyber thieves – from accessing Acronis customer data under protection both in transit and in the cloud.’

Given that I’m part-way through watching the pretty amazing ’Mr Robot’ TV show at the moment - which appears to be all about hackers and cyber thieves breaking into supposedly impenetrable data centres in order to foment an ‘Occupy’-style revolution - a whole lotta quantum encryption to secure the cloud solutions companies rely on every day is definitely in order.

After all, security is a top IT concern for the adoption of cloud solutions, especially as evermore companies use the cloud to backup, restore and recover data, with data privacy and data security a requirement for adoption - even as hybrid cloud has moved from a buzzword to an everyday reality.

Indeed, despite all of the advances in cloud and security technologies, IT managers and security professionals remain rightly concerned about data security and privacy in the cloud.

Acronis points to a recent survey by the Cloud Security Alliance which found that 73% of IT professionals are concerned about the security of data, making it the top reason for not adopting cloud solutions.

At the same time, Acronis and ID Quantique remind us that ‘today’s security technologies are not keeping up with the sophistication of modern-day hackers, as well as advanced technologies, such as quantum computing.’

Even the mighthy US National Security Agency (NSA) recently advised US agencies and businesses that all e-mail, medical and financial records, and online transactions, will soon be vulnerable to quantum computing technology threats, and that today’s encryption technologies will not protect them in the future. As a result, the NSA has announced plans to move to quantum-resistant algorithms for greater protection in the future.

Stuff just got real.

Jon Oltsik, Senior Principal Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said, “Organisations face a vexing situation where they must improve cybersecurity defences and oversight while simultaneously adopting new IT initiatives that often involve the cloud.

“To ensure data privacy and security are never compromised, CIOs and IT Administrators will only work with vendors and cloud service providers who make security a big part of their technologies and service offerings.”

With even the NSA making the quantum leap, is it any surprise quantum’s time has come for cloud data protection?

It’s no surprise to see Acronis therefore being focused on providing companies with ‘complete data protection through an integrated set of solutions, including backup, disaster recovery, and file sync and share, and particularly for access and storage’.

Not only does this require the most advanced data safety, but also data security to protect companies from outside threats, and data privacy to ensure that companies stay in control of their data at all times – in transit, in the cloud and on mobile devices.

So how will Acronis and ID Quantique say they will leverage quantum-safe encryption to provide the following increased security capabilities to Acronis cloud data protection solutions?

  • Quantum-resistant encryption – ensures Acronis cloud data protection customers are safe from future cyber security threats and vulnerabilities with the most advanced encryption technology for data transfers to and from Acronis data centres.
  • Quantum key distribution – also known as quantum cryptography, provides future-proof security for the backbone network that links Acronis’ worldwide data centres, and
  • Quantum random number generators – produces high-quality, high-entropy, and highly secure keys for users to help prevent unauthorised access of data under Acronis protection.

Serguei Beloussov, Acronis Co-Founder and CEO said: “Quantum computing opens up a new world of cyber security threats that companies cannot ignore – especially those moving more IT operations like data protection to the cloud.

“Acronis believes that data privacy and data security are critical requirements for complete cloud data protection, and we’re working with leaders such as ID Quantique to innovate in areas like quantum-safe encryption. The result ensures that our cloud customers get the most secure solutions in the industry and most importantly are protected against future threats and attacks.”

Gregoire Ribordy, ID Quantique CEO said: “Quantum-safe approaches are essential to guarantee long-term confidentiality of data. This kind of solution will become the de-facto standard for the cloud, and Acronis, as a first-mover, will have a strong edge.”

So, there you have it. Cloud data has taken the quantum leap, and it looks like everyone else will need to, too!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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