Confidential Ledger: Flexibility to collaborate securely

  • Posted on July 19, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes
Azure Confidential Ledger flexibility

The release of Azure Confidential Ledger (ACL) marks a significant step forward in Microsoft’s confidential computing strategy. ACL is a secure and flexible solution that allows developers to store any data in a trusted environment, backed by blockchain technology.

This is a breakthrough for organisations that need to collaborate and share data in new ways, whether for customer sensitive data in finance and healthcare, or as part of the digital transformations happening now in manufacturing and logistics.

What is confidential computing?
Confidential computing allows you to utilize code and data in a completely secure and Trusted Execution Environments (TEE) down to the hardware memory level. Your code and data remains secure even whilst in use, so secure that even cloud administrators won’t be able to access the contents of the compute instance without you knowing.

How does Azure Confidential Ledger work?
Azure Confidential Ledger (ACL) is a secure and flexible solution that allows developers to store any data in a TEE, backed by blockchain technology. Unlike other blockchain solutions, configuration and custom setup requirements are minimal. ACL is a lightweight addition to Microsoft’s confidential compute services, enabling information to be stored immutably with ease.

ACL can form part of any solution requiring provenance for sensitive data, with hardware-backed guarantees that storing, and processing activities are tamper-proof. ACL is ideally suited for data-owners to track, monitor, and audit changes over time securely.

What are the benefits of Azure Confidential Ledger?
There are many benefits to storing data securely, such as increased security, privacy, and compliance. Confidential ledger can help to prevent data breaches, protect sensitive information, and meet compliance requirements.

This is a great way to keep sensitive information safe and secure, as well as to prevent fraud.

What are the potential applications of Azure Confidential Ledger?
There are many potential applications of Azure Confidential Ledger – the banking and finance industry is one of the most obvious industries that will benefit from confidential ledger technology. The ability to provide provenance of data and prove that no tampering has taken place will be a benefit for regulatory compliance. Other industries that will benefit from this technology include the healthcare industry, the legal industry, and the government.

Typical use cases include:

  • Tracking changes to confidential and sensitive data over time
  • Monitoring and auditing changes to data in manufacturing and logistics
  • Ensuring that data is kept secured
  • Any other application requiring secure storage and processing of sensitive data

Try it out!
Avanade has published a sample code repository on GitHub, exploring Azure confidential ledger and confidential compute in a document sharing scenario.

The sample demonstrates how to use Azure confidential ledger to annotate a document while preserving the confidentiality of the document contents, checking people are authorised to access the documents, and processing in main memory. We explore how Microsoft’s Form recogniser can be run in a TEE, and utilise services like SQL Ledger and ACL to securely track all of the data.

Find out more about Confidential Ledger, or explore Avanade Trendlines report: Navigating the future with trust.

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