Fortanix and Snowflake Team Up on Tokenization


By: Mary Jander

Fortanix this week announced a partnership that brings its key-management and tokenization capabilities to customers of Snowflake’s (NYSE: SNOW) data management environment. The alliance illuminates the need for protection of data as it moves in and out of cloud warehouses, data lakes, and “data lakehouses.”

The integration allows users of Fortanix’s Data Security Manager (DSM) software-as-a-service (SaaS) – which evolved from the vendor’s self-defending key management service (SDKMS) – to tokenize sensitive data, such as social security numbers, in Fortanix’s system before the data is migrated to Snowflake.

Tokenization, recall, refers to the ability of a system to represent a piece of sensitive data with a random code that can only be unlocked by the originating system. This substitution of a token ensures that hackers can’t access sensitive information as it traverses cloud environments such as Snowflake’s.

Notably, Snowflake already has a mechanism for setting up tokenization before loading data into its environment. But both Fortanix and Snowflake tout their alliance as offering a fuss-free option that serves common customers – and possibly will attract companies who may be using either solution to use both.

“As more and more apps and services migrate to the cloud, it only makes sense that data security should as well,” said Ambuj Kumar, CEO and co-founder of Fortanix (a Futuriom 40 company), in a press release. “Tokenization has traditionally been a solution only larger enterprises could afford due to high implementation costs and ongoing licensing. Offering the capability as a service with Fortanix DSM SaaS helps customers manage costs, get faster value, and expand their cloud capabilities.”

A Trend Worth Watching

This isn’t Fortanix’s first tokenization alliance. The vendor has an alliance with Snowflake rival Cloudera (NYSE: CLDR, now going private by the end of this year).

Also, Fortanix isn’t the only tokenization supplier to venture into alliances with data warehousing/lake suppliers. For its part, Cloudera has partnerships with a range of Fortanix tokenization rivals, including Thales Group SA (whose security solutions include the former Gemalto key management products as well as Vormetric tokenization). Databricks, another Snowflake competitor whose valuation recently rocketed to $38 billion, has a partnership with HashiCorp (another Futuriom 40 company), with which Databricks enhanced its “secrets protection” for AWS and Azure clouds.

The leading cloud providers support data tokenization. AWS, for instance, provides guidance on how to implement it in its cloud services. Ditto Google Cloud Platform. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), which offered a combination of blockchain technology with tokenization, recently discontinued that solution, called Azure Blockchain, and is referring customers to Quorum Blockchain Service on Azure from blockchain software provider Consensys.

More Solutions Emerging

Solutions for protecting data across multi-cloud virtual environments are becoming more popular, particularly given the growth of zero-trust architecture in response to the epidemic of ransomware and other cybersecurity threats. And technology isn’t standing still. As noted above, tokenization has become wedded to blockchain technology. This approach is particularly popular in implementations for the financial sector. Some companies, such as IBM (NYSE: IBM), with its Guardium solution, combine tokenization with encryption and other options.

Data protection across multi-cloud warehouses, lakes, and lakehouses is a complex subject that continues to evolve. Expect to see many more permutations, alliances, and startups in this space.