Christian Banse, Data Sovereignty in the Cloud - Wishful Thinking or Reality?

The idea of data sovereignty has been at the core of various research activities over the last years, especially in Europe. The topic gained additional traction through various regulations and initiatives such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Cybersecurity Certification Scheme for Cloud Services (EUCS) and lastly, Gaia-X.While asserting digital control over your data is relatively easy in a closed ecosystem, such as your own on-premises or a community data space, it is infinitely more challenging in a public open ecosystem, such as the Cloud. On one hand, recent advantages in the field of confidential computing, such as the introduction of secure enclaves and encrypted virtual machine memory are promising new ways to enforce data sovereignty even in Cloud infrastructures. On the other hand, the mere existence of these techniques does not ensure an overall secure system, demonstrated by various flaws found in confidential computing techniques themselves, such as AMD SEV. So, the question remains if data sovereignty in the cloud is already reality or still wishful thinking?Keeping the requirements from initiatives such as Gaia-X and the EUCS in mind, this talk will explore what it means to achieve data sovereignty and security in the Cloud. It is important to understand, that it is not only necessary to implement appropriate security measures, but also (continuously) demonstrate the effectiveness of them. Therefore, this talk will show an overview of different technical means to leverage confidential computing for data sovereignty in the Cloud, especially using remote attestation and integrity verification. Furthermore, it will explore techniques to demonstrate the effectiveness of these measures with regards to regulation compliance. One such example is the MEDINA framework, which aims to continuously verify the requirements of EUCS and Gaia-X, both on the infrastructure as well as the application level in cloud systems.

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