Choosing the Best Encryption Key Management Solution
Encryption—when done correctly—is considered one of the best ways to secure information. But your method of encryption is only as effective as the management of its keys.
Understanding your key management options can help you find the most beneficial solution.
The wrong encryption key management practices for your particular needs can undermine all your efforts to secure your data.
There are different ways to manage encryption keys—but how can you choose the best one for you?
Here are a few considerations, as well as why your efforts to find the best encryption key management solution are absolutely worth it.
Identifying the Security Risks of Your Key Management
You need to be able to answer some fundamental questions in order to choose the right encryption key management solution, such as:
- Where are your keys stored? Many organizations expect third parties such as cloud service providers to store and manage their keys, but by doing so, increase the risk that files be exposed to unauthorized personnel.
- How are they transmitted? When encrypting data, the risk of your sensitive information is essentially transferred to the keys that unlock said information. Ensuring safety when transmitting and sharing keys is essential to maintaining the integrity of your data.
- Who has access to them? Access control regulations help keep your keys—and therefore your data—secure. Without proper policies and security measures in place, it can be too easy for malicious hackers to gain access to your encryption keys.
- Where are your keys kept relative to the data it unlocks? If your keys are kept in the same server as their corresponding data, a security breach could easily give hackers access to your information.
Although encryption is considered the industry standard for protecting files, breaches are common among unencrypted as well as encrypted data. Data holders need to understand that simply encrypting files isn’t effective without a strategy to manage the keys that access this information.
Deploying an appropriate encryption key management solution allows you to lower the chances of a breach and better control access to and the integrity of encrypted files.
The Importance of Taking a Strategized Approach
You need a unified strategy to fully manage keys across their lifecycle, allowing you to create, manage, and destroy keys according to industry compliance standards and your security risk. How can you do this?
There’s no standard way to implement an encryption key management solution. Key management can be challenging, and the more data you need to encrypt—or the more providers you work with—the more complex your solutions will be.
In addition, not all encryption keys work across all communication platforms, which means you could have several keys to access just one document.
As you might imagine, things can get pretty complicated when so many keys are involved. Which makes properly managing them even more important, not just to allow ease of access for authorized use of the information, but to prevent unapproved access and keep hackers out.
Considerations for the Best Encryption Key Management Solution
Based on your particular risk profile, there are some pivotal considerations to determine the best encryption key management solution for your needs.
- Never store encryption keys with data.This applies whether you have a cloud service provider or a local server. Keeping keys with the data they protect completely negates your security efforts. Keep your keys separate from their corresponding data in a secure location that you have control over.
- Consider maintaining control over your keys. You could trust a provider to handle your keys, but bringing your own keys—otherwise referred to as Bring Your Own Keys (BYOK)—to your encryption service allows you to have control over who accesses the data and the management of your keys.
- Look for centralized solutions. Having several key management systems can mean your security and compliance will vary widely, which can compromise the integrity of your data, not to mention your organization’s efficiency. Centralized key management allows you to have an integrated platform to secure files across different environments, simplify your solution, and reduce risk.
- Don’t ignore HSM. Arguably the most secure way to manage encryption keys, a Hardware Security Module (HSM) allows you to have full control over your own keys and offers centralized key management, and can be used whether you have a local or virtual server.
How Can You Make the Best Choice?
The truth is that your organization could implement a variety of encryption key management techniques to create one centralized solution. Some experts advocate for multiple technologies to provide a higher level of security to keep sensitive information safe.
The best solution won’t just mitigate risk and increase security, but can reduce costs associated with a breach and help you better maintain compliance.
Have you chosen the best encryption key management solution for your business yet?
For more information on Encryption Key Management, please contact Sales@GEOBRIDGE.net