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IBM’s homomorphic encryption tech (FHE) can be used by organizations and enterprises applying machine learning and analytics to encrypted data without compromising data privacy. Even if business data is stored across hybrid multi-cloud environments, it doesn’t guarantee foolproof protection against continuously evolving security and data privacy risks. 

Why FHE makes sense

Encryption does provide protection, but for the data to be accessed for computing and other operations critical to business, it must first be decrypted. The doors to any potential compromise of privacy and confidentiality controls are opened inevitably during the decrypting. 

For organizations, processing information while still protecting privacy and security is necessary. Homomorphic encryption can be the answer for organizations in such a challenging scenario where security threats constantly evolve. Companies like Microsoft and Intel have consistently opposed introducing homomorphic encryption. 

IBM chose to go ahead and made quite a noise when it released homomorphic encryption services for the first time. Educational material, prototyping environments, and support were included in the package for companies that were interested in experimenting. 

Is this IBM’s solution for data privacy concerns? 

A blog post from IBM said that experiments with homomorphic encryption started back in the 1970s itself. However, it was only in 2009 that a landmark was reached when Craig Gentry, presently a research fellow at Algorand Foundation, published his groundbreaking work.

Only after Gentry’s work was published did researchers and companies consider homomorphic encryption (FHE) as an answer against online threats for cloud security, covering everything from banking and financial services to online shopping and healthcare. Eric Maas, IBM’s director of strategy and emerging technology, explained in a recent media presentation his company’s optimism about fully homomorphic encryption, saying that the technology allows computing data that are still encrypted. 

How should the use of homomorphic encryption be spread? 

IBM realizes that for FHE to be used widely, it must be made accessible to data scientists and regular application developers and not just cryptographers. IBM has made it possible to develop AI, machine learning, and cloud technologies for an entirely new generation by collaborating with leading businesses that realize what unique challenges their industry faces and academics who are engaged in developing and using FHE. It has allowed the performing of critical computations on sensitive data without making any compromise on privacy. 

IBM has also worked with Banco Bradesco, one of the largest banks in Brazil, which marks another FHE milestone. Researchers proved that a far higher level of privacy could be achieved while performing encrypted predictions keeping the data and the result concealed throughout the processing. 

While a lot of work remains to be done before FHE moves out of research and starts getting used by more and more entities, it’s hoped that the value of FHE will be acknowledged before long and the next steps taken to improve cloud security. Companies like Google, IBM, Microsoft, and others are pushing the envelope so that leveraging this exciting new technology becomes easier for developers. 

Increasing shift to cloud and its threats

There’s been a revolutionary shift in the ways of doing business, creating software, data storage, and day-to-day business operations after the cloud became popular. This revolutionary technology allows us to access our data from anywhere. However, it has opened the doors to emerging cybersecurity threats as well. 

Cloud-delivered malware has emerged as a potent threat. The increasing use of cloud data applications like Google Drive and Dropbox, which allows individuals to move sensitive data quickly, is also concerning. Organizations have no way to realize when sensitive data is being shared. Many enterprises rely on SaaS for carrying out daily operations. For such enterprises, unsecured cloud-based applications remain a significant threat. 

An effective way to deal with these security threats is getting a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN download delivers a program capable of protecting activities that users perform online. Essentially, it makes your actions more anonymous and secure.  

It creates a tunnel to transfer all data and uses encryption so that none on the web can decipher the data being transferred between the internet and an individual using VPN. It helps improve both user privacy and security significantly. VPNs can also block malicious emails and flag suspicious websites. 


Data privacy concerns are an important issue nowadays. Luckily, it pushes companies to find new ways to protect it. The use of homomorphic encryption is all set to revolutionize online security, especially security on the cloud. True, as of now, the use of this new technology is still confined to research and experimenting. 

However, companies like Google, IBM, and Intel have taken the lead, and it’s hoped that FHE will be made accessible to the masses sooner rather than later. The challenges to online security we face are unique and emerging continuously. Here’s hoping that homomorphic encryption turns out to be a game changer.