By Jon Swartz
Google Cloud is fortifying security among other new features to help its largest customers protect sensitive data during the coronavirus pandemic.
The cloud-computing unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL -0.75% /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG -0.74% announced the beta release of Confidential Virtual Machines at its virtual Cloud Next ‘20 event on Tuesday. The security layer is the result of a partnership with chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208144392/composite AMD -1.20% .
The new security product — initially available in parts of the U.S., Europe and Asia — is aimed at enticing businesses, especially those in highly regulated industries, to adopt cloud services. The confidential technology encrypts data while it is being processed. Previously, data was encrypted in storage and in transit.
Google’s move, following those of rivals Amazon.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.30% and Microsoft Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT -0.03% , sent Google’s stock up 0.6% on Tuesday. Alphabet shares are up 13.5% in 2020 while the broader S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.08% has dipped 1%.
Alphabet shares have benefited since the early days of the pandemic, in part because of sales of cloud-related services. Google Cloud sales grew 52%, to $2.78 billion from $1.83 billion, in the fiscal first quarter.
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In general, the stocks of cloud providers, which sell computing capacity on an as-needed basis, have surged because of their ability to support remote work, among other capabilities. The past week, however, has been a rough week for cloud-related stocks, including significant dips for Cloudflare Inc. /zigman2/quotes/214109260/composite NET -0.03% , DocuSign Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205992027/composite DOCU +1.01% , Eventbridge Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208043748/composite EB -1.78% , Datadog Inc. /zigman2/quotes/214127379/composite DDOG -0.48% , and others.
The security enhancement for Google Cloud comes a day after Google vowed to invest $10 billion in India as part of plans to make the internet “affordable and useful” for 1 billion people.
“This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy,” Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said via livestream at the Google for India event on Monday. “This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy,” he said.
”India’s own digital journey is far from complete. There’s still more work to do in order to make the internet affordable and useful for a billion Indians ... from improving voice input and computing for all of India’s languages, to inspiring and supporting a whole new generation of entrepreneurs,” Pichai added.