Data is among the most valuable assets of SAP customers and partners, with the power to enhance strategic decision-making and ensure competitive advantage. However, privacy and security concerns immediately arise when collecting and processing sensitive data.
This is why SAP and Bosch have joined forces to harness the power of secure multi-party computation (MPC) and help enable secure and privacy-preserving data analysis across different organizations and industries.
Bringing Secure Computation to the Industry Level
MPC is an advanced cryptographic technique that can offer significant benefits to SAP customers and partners that often deal with sensitive data from various sources and stakeholders. MPC allows multiple parties to jointly perform a computation without revealing any sensitive information that may be contained in their input data.
That’s a great achievement because companies often fear that the risk of sharing their data openly is greater than the potential value of the sharing itself. One example is the supply chain, where multiple parties are involved. Object-level tracking allows companies to collect large amounts of data, such as time, location, or handling of the goods they produce. Combining the data collected by the different companies involved can have significant benefits. However, two companies may only be willing to share information about common items that they have both handled along the supply chain. MPC can help solve this dilemma with secure and private computation.
As a result, organizations can perform complex data analysis and processing without compromising confidentiality or compliance. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 60% of large organizations will use at least one privacy-enhancing computation technique in analytics, business intelligence, or cloud computing.
“Companies can thrive the most when collaborating in business networks, and sharing data is a key component of these ecosystems. MPC can help protect sensitive data from unauthorized access and misuse while still enabling valuable insights and analytics,” says Volkmar Lotz, head of SAP Security Research at SAP Innovation Center Network. Powering secure benchmarking, fraud detection, supply chain optimization, or personalized services, MPC facilitates data sharing and collaboration across different organizations and sectors, creating new opportunities for innovation and growth.
Lifting MPC into the Cloud
In response to the demand for greater data privacy, Bosch Research has initiated the open-source project Carbyne Stack, which makes MPC available for a cloud environment. This way, confidentiality and privacy are maintained when data is processed by cloud services.
“Carbyne Stack is a kind of cloud-native operating system for MPC workloads, managing resources to make them run as efficiently as possible in multi-cloud deployments,” explains Sven Trieflinger, senior project manager and group lead at Bosch Research. “From a business perspective, it’s the seed for an upcoming open ecosystem of technology building blocks that will accelerate the development and adoption of MPC technology across multiple industries.”
SAP has recently joined Carbyne Stack as a contributor. Building on both partners’ leadership in data security, cloud computing, and business applications, the collaboration will explore the potential of MPC for various use cases and industries currently constrained by security and privacy concerns. One of the first topics for SAP will be to make the Carbyne Stack storage and processing services easily consumable from within the browser and to add support for deploying Carbyne Stack on Amazon Web Services (AWS). These changes will help SAP work towards its vision of providing services for privacy-preserving data operations across different organizations and sectors, creating new opportunities for innovative business cases.
“By combining the strengths of SAP and Bosch, we aim to advance the state of the art in MPC and enable new business cases for our customers and partners,” says Lotz.
SAP targets use cases in industries such as automotive, manufacturing, healthcare, and finance. The exploration of MPC’s potential holds the opportunity to revolutionize those industries by solving critical data privacy and security challenges without compromising collaboration and innovation.
To find out more about secure multi-party computation, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mathias Kohler is a research manager for SAP Security Research.