Cloud computing has garnered a great deal of attention – and investment – in recent years, but the technology has been unable to shake its reputation for questionable security. Researchers from the University of Vienna believe they may have found the remedy, however, by applying the principles of quantum mechanics.
Although it is still in its infancy, experts have suggested that quantum computing could become a powerful successor to the current, electronics-based computing paradigm.
"One of the peculiarities of the branch of physics called quantum mechanics is that objects can be in more than one state at once, with the states of different objects tied together in ways that even Albert Einstein famously referred to as 'spooky,'" explained BBC science and technology reporter Jason Palmer in his latest report. "Instead of the 0 and 1 'bits' of digital computing, quantum computing aims to make use of these mixed and entangled states to perform calculations at comparatively breathtaking speeds."
In terms of cloud security, researchers are particularly interested in applying quantum concepts to the art of data encryption. According to Palmer, quantum cryptography is still in its formative stages, however, and commercial applications still seem distant.
To expedite this process, researchers from the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information recently focused their efforts encrypting and manipulating data. In one experiment, scientists demonstrated how data could be processed with the input and output remaining unknown to the quantum computer. If applied to the cloud, this would mean that data owners would not have to cede security to provide cloud vendors with adequate functionality.
"Quantum physics solves one of the key challenges in distributed computing," noted lead researcher Stefanie Barz. "It can preserve data privacy when users interact with remote computing centers."
According to Barz, the most likely mainstream application of the technology would follow a model similar to today's supercomputers. The complexity associated with constructing quantum devices would likely limit their existence to a few specialized hubs around the world which could be accessed as third-party vendors. Companies would essentially outsource their quantum computations to these centralized facilities.
The quantum server would then complete the calculations with no means of or need for knowing the identity of the data owner, Barz explained. In this way, customers could remotely leverage faster and more detailed data analyses with minimal concern for traditional data security issues.
Cloud Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro