Cloud security firm CipherCloud has come up with a way for users of its Linux-based platform to search data using natural language techniques even though it has been strongly encrypted.

Offered under the product name Searchable Strong Encryption (SSE), support is included for Boolean search, wild cards, and variables such as ‘starts with’ or ‘ends with’, the company said.

The firm’s architecture made it possible to offer a local index of data on a gateway despite the actual cloud data using AES 256-bit encryption, combining the need for compliant security with usability.

“Business users demand security to be transparent. Applying strong encryption, AES 256-bit, to data while keeping it entirely searchable has been a long-standing challenge,” said CipherCloud’s founder and CEO, Pravin Kothari. “CipherCloud has now raised the bar by enabling the full usability of encrypted data in the cloud, without compromising security or performance.”

SSE overcame a major hurdle for the cloud, namely that data had to be heavily encrypted which took it out of reach of the workforce, he said. By using a local index, users were given access to its content. It also made compliance with a welter of different global data protection regimes possible without adding new layers of complexity.

Separately, the firm has also added unlimited initialisation vectors to its encryption gateway, a technique for adding randomness to encrypted data in order to defeat pattern matching.