Microsoft Azure has recently formed a collaboration with Intel, Fortanix, and UC San Francisco’s Center for Digital Health Innovation (CDHI) for the purpose of establishing a confidential computing platform to promote the deployment of AI in the healthcare sector.

According to Scott Woodgate, the Senior Director of Azure Security and Management at Microsoft, when researchers develop innovative algorithms for enhancing patient outcomes, the company wants them to have the cloud infrastructure that they can count on for achieving this objective and protecting personal data privacy. Microsoft is proud to be part of such a significant project and deliver the Azure confidential computing infrastructure to healthcare organizations at the global level, stated Woodgate.

As per sources, the AI healthcare platform comprises privacy-preserving analytics for accelerating the validation and development of clinical algorithms that have a “zero-trust” environment. The objective is to address data security concerns and protect intellectual property. The organizations further expect this novel technology to proceed with the reduction of overall time and expenses.

Confidential computing technology is based on the protection of patient privacy by allowing a specific algorithm for interaction with a particularly curated data set, cite reports. The healthcare system will be reportedly controlled by the data set at all times via Microsoft Azure’s confidential computing cloud infrastructure and the data will be stored into a safe enclave, leveraged by Fortanix cryptographic functions and powered by Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX), further comprising validating the signature of the image of the algorithm.

Anil Rao, the Vice President of Data Center Security and Systems Architecture Platform, Hardware Engineering Division, Intel, has stated that trusted execution environments promoted by Intel SGX could be fundamental to the advancement of algorithm training and multi-party analysis in turn helping to keep data private and protected. He has further added that this partnership with UCSF, Microsoft Azure, and Fortanix showcases the astounding data defending capability of confidential computing with the hardware-rooted protection offered by Intel.


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