Alibaba and Fortanix have teamed up on cloud security to integrate Fortanix’s key management service with the Alibaba Cloud platform.
It’s a significant deal for both companies, giving the Chinese cloud giant another U.S.-based partner as it seeks to expand its reach. And it gives the security startup a new cloud partner since launching just over a year ago.
Fortanix emerged from stealth mode in June 2017. Since then it’s partnered with data center giant Equinix, which uses Fortanix’s key management software to power its security service. It also teamed up with IBM Cloud on a service that protects data in use, and cloud provider Elastx recently chose Fortanix to power the key management for its cloud.
The new Alibaba partnership offers Fortanix’s Self-Defending Key Management Service (SDKMS) to Alibaba Cloud customers. This allows them to encrypt all their data in the cloud while keeping the keys protected from Fortanix and Alibaba Cloud.
Alibaba Cloud in April launched Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX)-powered cloud servers as Elastic Compute Service (ECS) bare metal instances. Intel SGX protects select code and data from disclosure or modification. Running Fortanix’s software on top of Intel SGX hardware provides both key management and hardware security model (HSM) capabilities via software. It also ensures untrusted operating systems, root users, and cloud providers don’t have access to the encrypted data.
“It’s one of the few solutions in the world to keep keys, access controls, and even access logs secure from root users,” said Ambuj Kumar, co-founder and CEO of Fortanix. “There are not too many cloud services where the cloud provider has absolutely no visibility into their customers’ workload.”
In March, Equinix started using Fortanix to power its key management and hardware security module service. And IBM Data Shield, powered by Fortanix’s Runtime Encryption platform, is in beta and open to select customers.
Alibaba Cloud has been busy adding partners to grow its hybrid cloud. Last month, Alibaba Cloud said it will offer VMware’s hybrid cloud software stack on its cloud infrastructure. Around the same time Alibaba Cloud and Intel launched a hybrid cloud partnership and an edge computing platform.
And in August, the Chinese company partnered with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). The partnership will see Alibaba Cloud’s Apsara software — this is the cloud provider’s on-premises hybrid cloud stack — certified on HPE platforms including its ProLiant Gen10 servers and FlexFabric networking switches.