IBM has announced plans to integrate Intel's Trusted Execution Technology (Intel TXT) into its SoftLayer cloud service's metal servers, in a bid to secure the platform at a chip level.
Intel TXT provides customers with a variety of powers and services, including hardware monitoring and advanced security controls.
IBM claims the controls will let IT managers know their data and processes are running on "trusted" hardware and in accordance with the relevant compliance frameworks. These include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), payment card industry (PCI) standards and the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).
The combined technologies mean firms can check if the individual parts of a computing system – including its operating system, hypervisor, boot firmware and hardware – are running as intended.
This lets IT managers do things like permit or deny a workload from running on a select system or set servers to only decrypt data when they are in a specific geographic location.
SoftLayer CTO Marc Jones said the move is an essential step in the firm's ongoing bid to entice businesses to the cloud. "Security perception remains the biggest hurdle for widespread enterprise cloud adoption," he said.
"SoftLayer is the only bare-metal cloud platform offering Intel TXT, leading the industry in enabling customers to build hybrid and cloud environments that can be trusted from end-to-end."
The news follows widespread concerns about data sovereignty and cloud computing.
Questions about many cloud service providers' security erupted in 2013 when whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked documents to the press proving that the NSA collected vast amounts of customer data from cloud providers.
Since the revelation companies have been rushing to bolster the security of their cloud services.
VP of Intel Security Group Rick Echevarria cited the revelations, combined with ongoing developments in the cyber crime community, as proof of the need for advanced cloud-security solutions.
"It is becoming increasingly important to provide cloud environments with the same, if not greater levels of security as your on-premise technology environments," he said.
"By building on IBM's history of security innovation, with this solution based on Intel TXT, SoftLayer is demonstrating that such levels of cloud security are now possible and available."
Intel TXT is available today on all SoftLayer bare metal servers using Intel's Xeon E5-2600 v2, Xeon E3-1200 v3 and Intel Xeon E5-4600 chips.
For more information on the cloud, visit the Intel IT Center.
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