Quantum computing technology, if it ever becomes a reality, promises to completely revolutionize the technology industry by removing virtually all of today’s computing limits.
However, as with any major new technology, quantum computing presents as many challenges as opportunities. Perhaps one of the biggest clouds hanging over the topic is how quantum computing might affect global digital security, considering unlimited computing resources will undoubtedly allow users to break virtually all of today’s digital encryption technologies.
And that is where some of Cisco’s top security executives plan to step in.
During the company’s recent Cisco Live corporate trade show, CEO Chuck Robbins boasted that members of Cisco’s security team including Dave McGrew have been working on this very issue, and have come up with some workable solutions.
Specifically, Robbins and McGrew said Cisco had designed a prototype system to use quantum computing to develop and distribute security keys. While the system certainly doesn’t address all of the concerns around the application of quantum computing on security, it does indicate progress on the topic.
Cisco’s McGrew said the company is currently testing the quantum-based security key distribution system.
Why this matters
Regular Internet users are of course generally concerned about digital security given that a growing number of everyday tasks — banking and healthcare among them — are moving into the digital realm.
But service providers also have a stake in the situation given that security stands as one of their key offerings to customers ranging from consumers to enterprises.
Cisco is by no means the only company playing in the realm of quantum computing. IBM and others, as well as a number of Chinese companies, are working in the space as well. Further, it’s unclear when quantum computing might become a reality, or even if it will at all.
Nonetheless, Cisco is clearly stamping out a position in the space should it grow into an opportunity.