The rise of hard tech has created a scenario where business information exchange has become much quicker and convenient in its dissemination. This data, crucial for the smooth running of any modern operation, needs to be easily transferable — not only to other internal departments within the said company’s structure but also in the external context in regard to B2B network relationships. Some examples of this can come in the form of business reports and sensitive corporate data like legal contracts and patent records. Sometimes within the internet connection, though deemed secure by current encryption methods that rely on high computational complexity, security breaches arise that can compromise a company’s reputation and future commercial outcomes.
This problem will only get worse with the advent of efficient and workable quantum technologies such as quantum computing (QC).
The National Security Agency (NSA), along with the security agencies of other countries, realize quantum computers with the ability to achieve quantum advantage are the greatest threat to successfully hacking present-day security solutions. To counter this threat, intelligent minds with the foresight to see it have come up with an answer in the way of quantum cryptography, and more specifically, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), can fight quantum with quantum.
Startups like KETS and CryptoNext Security are setting the stage for the oncoming tide of universal quantum technology. Corporations, too, are getting involved: Just a few weeks ago, Japanese giant Toshiba’s Digital Solutions Corporation launched its global QKD business. Following their lead is an Israeli startup based in Jerusalem: QuantLR, founded in 2018, is a spinoff of Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University. With backing from Labs/02, a Jerusalem seed-stage incubator, QuantLR’s main goal is to make QKD an essential tool and solution for the world.
“We approached this problem bottom up. Unlike our competition we do not use specially designed expensive hardware components. Instead we use off-the-shelf existing components used for fiber communications today.”
The startup’s two founders, CEO Shlomi Cohen and CTO Yanir Farber, realize public-key technologies are becoming obsolete, or in their own words: ‘public-key technologies have reached their expiration date’. The point made, the duo are also under no illusions that achieving this will be difficult. Why? The prohibitive costs of current QKD solutions, for one, which — according to data on the startup’s website — can cost up to 20% of a company’s total security budget when 5% is a more acceptable rate.
Amazingly, though, QuantLR’s QKD pricing model can get it down to a measly 2%!
With customers for their technology coming from the financial sector, government, defence, critical infrastructure, and data centres, QuantLR has various avenues for potential revenue streams.
“At a time when both significant advancements are being made towards making the quantum computer a reality, and the almost constant state of data proliferation, the need for the secure transmission of sensitive information has never been more significant.”
— Taro Shimada, senior vice-president and chief digital officer of Toshiba Corporation, and president and CEO of TDSL
Shamada’s words shed a bright light on what startup’s such as QuantLR are doing. That the Israeli team will reap the benefits of it in the near future is still unclear. Yet, with quantum technologies getting ever more advanced, the threat to counter it will be as important as ever.