I'm studying for the CCSP exam and the training material is a little vague on the term "crypto offloading".
The term was mentioned in passing while describing TLS:
TLS is a protocol designed to ensure privacy when communicating between applications. This can occur between two servers such as two SMTP servers passing mail, or between a client and a web server as in the case of an application that passes confidential or protected information of some type. In years gone by, this type of encryption put a burden on both the server and the client, but today's advanced application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) solve that problem. These chips are designed specifically to handle cryptographic functions and are therefore much faster and efficient than having the main CPU in the machine handle the encryption. This is known as crypto offloading, but the term is not included in your test materials.
That got me to thinking though: Is the ONLY way to perform crypto offloading through the use of ASIC chips? Can the concept be abstracted to a host level where powerful/dedicated systems are handling the crypto operations? For example, would using hardware security modules (HSMs) be considered a form of "crypto offloading"? Or at the end of the day, does it all come back to the use of ASIC chips?
Hopefully my question makes sense. :-)