GOOGLE IS ABOUT TO SHOW the world its Titan chip, which adds hardware security to its cloud computing network.
A dedicated hardware firewall (but oh so much more) will, the company hopes, give it the jump on its biggest rivals in the $50bn projected space, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
Full details are coming on Thursday (probably afternoon in the UK) and will concentrate on ensuring that no one has messed with the hardware configuration of a particular rig.
It's exactly the type of suspicion that held up IBM's tie-ups for its x86 server business to Lenovo, as both governments were convinced that dummy chips with back doors would inevitably result.
And with most chips made in the Far East, there's a lot of suspicions still bubbling under the surface, and with the possibility that local actors can add their own dodgy hardware to the picture (see Mr Robot or even this story for details) then when you're custodian of all that cloud data, you need to get your security bang on.
And that's where Titan comes in. If Titan detects an issue, the machine won't boot. Simple as.
Google has "a lot of work to do" says Lydia Leong at Gartner, and she doesn't see security as necessarily the differentiator it needs - though Google has asked us to point out that they see themselves as shoulder to shoulder, if not a little ahead of its competitors in this area, but in terms of customers, remains behind its competitors, holding just seven percent of the market.
By upping its security game, Google Cloud hopes to be attractive to those in sensitive data fields like finance and medicine.
"Having physical safeguards goes a long way of telling the story of how seriously Google takes people's security," Kim Forrest, vice president at Fort Pitt Capital Group told Reuters.
Despite all this power, the Titan chip is around the size of an earring and has already been installed throughout Google's infrastructure. What we're waiting for is exactly what it is, what its specs are, what it does and how analysts react to it.
It's this that will decide if Google can at last call themselves a cut above their rivals in terms of security. µ
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