What is key management? How does key management work?


With the number of data breaches increasing around the world, it is more important than ever to manage customer data securely. Cybercriminals exploit consumer data from well-known brands and even startups that have recently entered the digital world. Regardless of business size, necessary steps to strengthen the first line of defense should be considered, especially for businesses that offer digital platforms to buyers and subscribers.

Data breaches today affect businesses of all types, and legal frameworks are trying to keep pace with the ever-evolving cyberattacks that lead to data compromise.

Encryption is essential for security if your business deals with sensitive data. Encryption is now mandatory, but the quality of your encryption method depends on how you manage your keys.

What is key management?

Key management refers to the process of tracking cryptographic keys within a cryptographic system. At the user level, it takes care of the production, exchange, storage, usage and replacement of keys as needed. Key servers, user procedures, and protocols, as well as cryptographic protocol design, are all part of a key management system. Successful key management is essential to the security of the cryptosystem.

Any security system would be incomplete without cryptographic keys. From data encryption and decryption to user authentication, they take care of everything. Any cryptographic key breach can take down an organization’s entire security infrastructure, allowing attackers to decode sensitive data, authenticate as privileged users, or gain access to other sources of secret information. Fortunately, proper management of keys and their components can keep sensitive data secure. The process of establishing guidelines for ensuring the security of cryptographic keys in an organization is called key management. Generating, exchanging, storing, deleting, and updating keys are all part of the key management process. They are also in charge of access to members’ keys.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of good encrypted key management. To avoid unwanted access or key loss, which results in loss of access to encrypted data, it is essential to carefully regulate the lifecycle of cryptographic keys.

Enterprise key management allows businesses to have a uniform key management strategy that can be applied across the organization. HSM providers can help organizations protect their information and ensure industry compliance by providing ongoing, successful management of encrypted keys for businesses using a hardware security module (HSM).

How does key management work?

Understanding how integrating all cryptographic keys into a single system protects a company’s assets is crucial when approaching the question of what enterprise key management solutions are.

Any company that deals with personal data is supposed to encrypt it, but keeping all key encryption information on the same servers as the protected data could make it an easy target for hackers. Encryption keys are stored on a separate but central device, such as an HSM, through enterprise key management. Once data is encrypted, encryption key management is used to restrict and manage device usage.

For added security, centralized key management helps maintain keys uniformly across all platforms, operating systems and business locations. This can help a business quickly recover data, identify a missing key, and reduce key management expenses.

Centralized key management is becoming increasingly important as more companies encrypt data to comply with enterprise-wide policies and regulations. The more data you encrypt, the more cryptographic keys you will need to keep track of to avoid a security compromise.

Key management follows a life cycle of procedures necessary to ensure that the key is securely created, retained, used and rotated. Most cryptographic keys have a life cycle that includes

· Key generation

· Use and bearing

· Revocation

· Backup

· Destruction

The first step in ensuring the security of a key is to generate it. The next step in the key lifecycle is to ensure that keys are distributed securely. To maintain the security of the released keys, they must be distributed to the required user via a secure TLS or SSL connection.

The key is used for cryptographic activities after its distribution. To ensure that the key is not misused, copied or otherwise compromised, it should only be used by authorized users. When a key is used to encrypt data, it must be recorded so that it can be decrypted later. A Hardware Security Module (HSM) or Cloud HSM is the most secure method.

When a key’s cryptoperiod, or the period during which the key is usable, expires, the key must be rotated. When the key for an encrypted data set expires, it is removed and replaced with a new key.

Destruction of a key, whether due to compromise or because it is no longer in use, permanently deletes the key from any key management database or other storage method.

There can be no secure cryptography without rigorous key management:

Key management is an essential part of your data security strategy. Implement a system that protects keys at all stages of the lifecycle and ensures protocols are flexible enough to meet the needs of your team’s ever-changing work environments.

How we can help you secure your cryptographic keys:

We provide crypto solutions to financial institutions, manufacturers, businesses and government agencies. Our main product lines include industry-compliant hardware security modules, Key management solutions, Tokenization, Encryption, Aadhaar Data Vault and Authentication Solutions. All of our cryptographic solutions are sold under the CryptoBind brand. Our innovative solutions have been adopted by businesses across the country to address critical security and data protection needs.

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