Trusted Computing for the Consumer

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Publish Date: 
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
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Abstract: 

State, Federal, and international legislation mandate the use of strong security measures to protect confidential and personal information. Businesses and governments react through due diligence by implementing security best practices. In fact, being secure in their management of information provides a competitive advantage and enhances the trust that consumers of products and services have in business/government.

The modern consumer also manages confidential and personal data, as well as sensitive applications. Net: The consumer, especially in this highly interconnected world, requires equivalent security best practices. The difference is the broad range of technical expertise in the consumer population (all of us!).

The security functionality must be:
- Easy to use
- Transparent
- Robust
- Inexpensive

And, be a natural part of the computing infrastructure. Enter: Trusted computing, as defined and standardized by the Trusted Computing Group (TCG). The tenets of the TCG include: robust security functions in hardware, transparency, and integration into the computing infrastructure; a perfect match with the consumer requirements.

The TCG, an industry consortium with a broad industry, government, and international membership, has developed technical specifications for a number of trusted elements. Included are specifications for integrated platform security, network client security and trust, mobile device security, and trusted storage; all key components of the consumer computing experience.

For example, the storage specifications define the concept of Self-Encrypting Drives (SED). SEDs integrate the encryption into the drive hardware electronics, encrypting all data transparently that is written to the drive; and, with no loss in drive performance. The SED protects against loss or theft, whether a laptop or a data center drive. And, both business professionals and rank-and-file consumers lose a significant number of laptops, according to the FBI. The robust protection afforded the consumer is transparent, inexpensive, and easy to use.

Combining the performance, longevity, quietness, and ruggedness of a solid-state drive (SSD) with the SED function equips the consumer with a winning combination, all integrated into the infrastructure.

Learning Objectives

Overview of the security challenges facing the consumer
Introduction to the tenets of the Trusted Computing Group, especially the integration of security into the computing infrastructure
Description of the TCG/SED technology, as a relevant example of trusted computing