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Intel (INTC) Ups the Ante in Hardware Security With SGX Card

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Intel (INTC - Free Report) recently unveiled Intel SGX Card with an aim to support security feature across servers in data centers which are bereft of the required hardware architecture.

The company notes that there is an increasing demand of SGX (or Software Guard Extensions) technology among several cloud service providers (CSPs). However, these CSPs have dual-socket processors which deprive them from availing robust security applications (of SGX technology) to protect customer data in public cloud.

In this regard, Intel SGX Card comes in handy as the CSPs can leverage the enhanced security capabilities of SGX technology without having to upgrade the existing data center architecture.

Intel’s latest Xeon E-2100 CPUs come with embedded SGX technology. Notably, SGX technology enables developers to isolate a select part of application data and code to run and support "enclaves” or secure “private regions of memory.”

Further it is to be noted that Intel’s SGX technology is already being leveraged by notable cloud services, including Microsoft's (MSFT - Free Report) Azurecloud platform, Alibaba’s (BABA - Free Report) cloud platform, IBM’s (IBM - Free Report) Cloud Data Guard, to mention a few.

Per the company, the new SGX Card can be viewed as enhanced Intel Visual Compute Accelerator or VCA graphics card. Notably, Intel expects SGX card to be available in later 2019.

Benefits of Intel SGX Card

With an aim to further accelerate the deployment of SGX technology, Intel in collaboration with industry partners, recently unveiled new enhancements. These include Flexible Launch Control to offer enhanced operational control, artificial intelligence (AI) based algorithm protection tool named MesaTEE developed by Baidu.

The new functionalities also include open source Enclave Development Platform (“EDP”), a software development kit (SDK) introduced by Fortanix. Notably, Fortanix EDP, integrated with Rust compiler, enables developers to create secure applications in real-time.

Threat Detection & Security: Other Focal Points

Apart from SGX card, the company intends to demonstrate other solutions, enhancements and functionalities at RSA 2019 aimed at enhancing hardware security with robust threat detection tools.

Intel is striving to enhance capabilities of its Threat Detection Technology (“TDT”) to improve hardware security in servers across virtualized data centers. The company recently extended support of TDT capabilities to Linux platform.

The company notes that SentinelOne is utilizing TDT to secure cryptomining processes.

Further, Intel recently unveiled "Host-based Firmware Analyzer" tool to offer TianoCore community developers to support open-source based advanced applications with an aim to enhance security of an OS environment. Management anticipates that this tool will be available in the first half of 2019.

Moreover, Intel announced various other security offerings with third-party integrations with tools from companies like Mocana, Eclypsium and Qnext, among others to offer data protection at various levels.

What Investors Should Know?

We believe Intel’s initiatives in enhancing hardware based security capabilities across data center servers to strengthen public cloud infrastructure favors the company’s growth prospects in the longer haul.

Secular growth rate in data and growing clout of CSPs (to meet the data storage demand), call for secure solutions to address cloud security failures. Per Gartner, cloud managed service providers are projected to triple by 2020. The research firm also predicts that “through 2022 at least 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault.”

Furthermore, increasing risk of sophisticated data breaches and malware, augment the demand for robust cloud security solutions. In fact, per GrandViewResearch, the global cloud security market will witness a CAGR of 13.9% to reach $12.63 billion by 2024.

Intel’s attempt to enhance hardware based security with new enhancements is expected to fortify its competitive position against peers like AMD in the processor market.

Currently, Intel carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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