Former NSAers are taking encryption to a new level - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Apr. 18, 2017 8:46 am

Former NSAers are taking encryption to a new level

Fulton-based En|Veil is coming off a strong showing at RSA's Innovation Sandbox.
En|Veil founder Ellison Anne Williams (second from right) at RSA.

En|Veil founder Ellison Anne Williams (second from right) at RSA.

(Photo via DataTribe/Twitter)

In cloud computing, encryption provides protection for storing and moving data. The founder of En|Veil said the startup’s technology can keep data encrypted when it’s being used, too.

The Howard County company is commercializing technology that began development at the NSA that allows encryption to remain in place while searching or analyzing data, said En|Veil founder and CEO Ellison Anne Williams.

Currently, decryption is required before performing these functions, leaving the data and the results of the operations potentially vulnerable to outsiders. The startup’s algorithms enable a method of encryption that protects in-use data to be used at a larger scale, said Williams.

“This is the first time in over 20 years of work into homomorphic encryption that this kind of scale has been achieved,” Williams said during a pitch at the RSA Conference’s Innovation Sandbox event. The company won second place in the competition, which seeks to name the “most innovative startup” at the national security conference.

Williams offered finance as an example of one industry that would benefit from the technology, but said it could be useful “wherever there’s a need to protect your data as it’s being used.”

En|Veil is seven months old, but the technology has been in development for longer. Williams worked at NSA for 12 years, and a year and a half at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. The company’s head of engineering also worked at APL, and the other three team members worked at NSA.

The five-member team is now based out of DataTribe, a Fulton-based incubator that helps startups working on government-developed tech. After a year at the incubator, Williams said the company plans to find space in the area.

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