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Healthcare and Intel® AES - NI

Performance gains for Healthcare security technologies

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The development of sophisticated computer and networking technologies has enabled our society to be more “connected” and always “online” than ever before resulting in the generation of exponentially greater amounts of data. Such data can comprise of important information like financial, medical, personal, and even matters related to national security, so it becomes one of the most critical collaterals going forward. Therefore, it is essential to adopt advanced levels of security and privacy practices to protect our data.

In the healthcare sector, we find acts like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandating the encryption of Personal Health Information (PHI) at rest and in motion [See HIPAA Security Rule - “Implement a mechanism to encrypt and decrypt EPHI.” Rule 164.312(e)(2)(ii), 164.312(a)(2)(iv)]. However, the adoption of security technologies is sometimes bypassed due to reasons like cost, system complexity, and longer application response times (due to the additional processing time needed by the software security layer). While the increase in cost and complexity may be unavoidable, one may be able to mitigate the impact of application performance degradation through the use of innovative technologies. One example of such technology is Intel® Advanced Encryption Standards – New Instructions (AES-NI) which is hardware-based encryption/decryption that may provide enough acceleration to offset the application performance degradation due to additional security layers needed for effective data protection.

Intel attempted to measure the performance benefit offered by Intel® AES-NI on a Linux*/Java* software stack in an effort to prove that use of such technology may be beneficial for the healthcare sector and allow more organizations to address the increasing security concerns within the industry and by consumers. By using Intel® AES-NI, Intel was able to observe consistent and significant performance improvement in application file encryption/decryption. Specifically, 38% (average) for encryption and 37.5% (average) for decryption, over a wide range of key sizes and file sizes.

Read the full Healthcare and Intel® Advanced Encryption Standards New Instructions Paper.