SmartKey Delivers Secure, Scalable Encryption Key Management

Hybrid multicloud architectures are the future of IT – it’s simply the way the world is heading. Enterprises are always going to want to keep some things on-premises, for any number of reasons, including security and efficiency. At the same time, the agility, cost-efficiency and other advantages of cloud make it an essential part of any company’s future. But no organization can rely on just one cloud. And a single monolithic cloud world just isn’t in the cards.

The hybrid multicloud is the architecture of the future because it fits where business is going, and so does Equinix SmartKey™, a new as-a-service security offering we’re launching today. SmartKey delivers multicloud-ready encryption key management, which we know is a critical part of doing business in an increasingly digital world.

Nothing is more important to the operations and reputation of the enterprise than protecting its data. But that can be complex and costly in a hybrid multicloud environment when that data is globally dispersed, extremely mobile and, at times, out of its control.

SmartKey protects enterprise data wherever it resides and keeps it under the enterprise’s control, while locating that data and a company’s encryption keys in proximate but separate places for better security and compliance. SmartKey makes a hybrid multicloud future a lot more secure and a lot less complicated.

A customer-inspired innovation

The most recent numbers on IT infrastructure spend from IDC support our view about the inevitable emergence of hybrid multicloud. In 2017, IT infrastructure spending on public cloud data centers grew 26.3% year-over-year. Meanwhile, spending on private clouds was also up, with IT infrastructure spending on on-premises private cloud increasing 11.5%. But worldwide spending on traditional, non-cloud IT infrastructure fell 2.6%, and at a rate faster than in the prior three years. These trends are telling, as they indicate many companies are currently carving out the path to hybrid multicloud. This is a journey our customers are traveling, and they are asking us to help them get there faster. SmartKey is an innovation directly inspired by their needs.

I remember very clearly the Equinix technology advisory board where the concept of SmartKey was born. A leader from a prominent cloud provider suggested that we were the best-positioned company to deliver a solution like SmartKey because we were a neutral party smack dab in the center of the hybrid multicloud. He told us, and I’m paraphrasing, “The enterprise really needs it. And, frankly, it’s a pain for service providers like us to build.” This customer-inspired innovation led to us conceiving and building the SmartKey product and the recently announced SmartKey beta program.

Handing the enterprise the keys

The foundation of SmartKey is Platform Equinix®, our global interconnection and data center platform. It spans 48 markets on five continents, while hosting 1,700 networks and 2,900+ cloud and IT service providers. It takes our more than 9,800 customers’ IT infrastructures out to the digital edge all over the globe, and now SmartKey is available at the edge to protect them, whether their IT is with Equinix, in a company’s on-premises data center, or in multicloud environments.

SmartKey is powered by Fortanix, is based on Intel® Software Guard Extensions (SGX), and is available to anyone, even companies that aren’t Equinix colocation customers. It aims to replace legacy on-premises hardware security modules that businesses own and operate to support key access to cloud-based applications. Relying on this inflexible hardware makes it tough to manage keys and data across different clouds, in different places, with different and evolving security policies or government regulations.

SmartKey solves these problems when it’s incorporated into an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™) strategy, which provides a digital edge blueprint for deploying your IT close to people, locations, clouds and data. SmartKey keeps an enterprise’s encryption keys at the digital edge, in proximity to but separate from the data hosted across various hybrid and multicloud services. It creates a new security control point that gives enterprises local management and control over globally dispersed data among multiple cloud platforms. That solves a variety of data sovereignty issues and puts an enterprise, not an external service provider, in control of both its data and its keys.

It all rests on the stable foundation of Platform Equinix, an expanding, dynamic and hugely defensible space. And its distribution is enabled by the Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric), which connects customers on-demand to their clouds, data and users throughout our global data center platform. SmartKey helps our customers establish a global infrastructure of manageable security control points that can scale quickly and securely.

Starting with SmartKey

We’re extremely excited about SmartKey at Equinix. It’s the first of many SaaS offerings that we will be delivering to help our customers thrive in a hybrid multicloud world. Check it out at our SmartKey web page.