Deconstructing Distributed Security: The Advantages of Moving to the Cloud Using HSM as a Service

You’re given the green light to port applications and data to the cloud. Not only are you excited about the advantages of moving to the cloud you’ll gain—greater reliability and business continuity, but also the reduction in support ticket volumes as a result of diminished data center infrastructure responsibilities. Your data and application migration process goes smoothly, until one afternoon…

An executive reports that she can no longer access data that was moved to cloud storage last night. A quick glance reveals that the PKI certificates are no longer working, denying them access. You assess the problem and correct the situation through manual intervention. Unfortunately, more users are reporting security access issues regarding their recently moved data. This is certainly not one of the advantages of moving to the cloud.

HSM as a Service is a best practice

Moving data and applications to the cloud requires a review of your current encryption key management strategy, which most likely is based on hardware security modules (HSM). In keeping with the as-a-service cloud deployment model, cloud-based applications and data are best secured with a SaaS-based encryption key solution, such as SmartKey™ from Equinix that provides HSM-grade capabilities without the need for hardware provisioning. In other words, HSM as a Service is a best practice for encryption key management in cloud environments.

Cloud-neutral strategy for encryption key management

An enterprise may initiate its cloud strategy using a single cloud provider, but inevitably the majority of enterprises evolve to multicloud environments. No single cloud provider can deliver all of the infrastructure, services, software support or geographic presence required by most enterprises. The evolution from a single to a multicloud environment can result in disjointed encryption key management—different methods and technologies for each cloud.

The HSM as a Service approach remedies this inconsistency and simplifies encryption key management with a single, centralized method of protecting encryption keys across major cloud environments, including AWS, Ali Baba, Azure, Google, IBM and Oracle. As an enterprise expands its cloud footprint, the same encryption key management approach can be deployed for each new cloud environment. The enterprise benefits from easier deployment management of encryption key services.

HSM as a Service simplifies encryption key management with a single, centralized method of protecting encryption keys across major cloud environments.

HSM-grade security without the need to provision hardware

HSMs provide a proven level of encryption key management but in hybrid and multicloud environments they present some significant disadvantages. HSMs have a protracted procurement and implementation cycle—days to months depending on organization size and deployment location. Delays impede the quick introduction of new services or expansion to new locations.

HSM as a service offers the advantage of on-demand deployment without the need for hardware provisioning. Encryption key management services can be deployed at the network edge, close to the markets served to reduce latency and optimize application performance. On-demand implementation and geographic scalability allow new services to rapidly be deployed and easily accommodate growth as demand for managing keys increases.

An added level of data protection

HSM as a Service manages encryption keys separately from the encrypted data stored in the cloud. In the event a hacker accesses encrypted data, the encryption keys stored in a separate, but proximate entity ensure that encrypted data remains unintelligible ciphertext. This added level of protection keeps you well guarded against external and internal threats.

Regardless of the state of data—in flight or at rest—encryption keys keep data safe. An automatically maintained audit log provides details of system operations, in the event there’s any question regarding unauthorized access attempts.

Efficiently address global data regulations

Businesses operating globally face a growing number of data regulations such as GDPR and  California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that impact how and where data is acquired, stored and processed. HSM as a Service offers a consistent method of managing encryption keys that protect data across widely distributed cloud environments. Smartkey can be deployed on-demand as an enterprise expands its reach into new geographies to deliver services. Of course, the CISO will address the requirements of data regulations with enterprise access policies, but nothing is more fundamental to ensuring data security than a consistent encryption key management strategy.

Maximize the advantages of moving to the cloud with a consistent encryption key management strategy  

There are many advantages of moving to the cloud, but enterprises should not undermine the benefits with a poorly devised encryption key management strategy. A SaaS modeled encryption key solution is a best practice to ensure data security as well as simplify deployment and management in hybrid and multicloud environments. SmartKey™ delivers HSM as a Service and provides a consistent encryption key management strategy, enabling enterprises to realize the advantages of moving to the cloud without jeopardizing data security.