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Townsend Security Data Privacy Blog

3 Ways Encryption & Key Management Can Help You Sleep

Posted by Michelle Larson on Jun 18, 2014 11:53:00 AM

Turn Your Nightmares into a Peaceful Night’s Sleep... Even When Your Sensitive Data is Stored in the Cloud

Are you losing sleep over Encryption compliance?

Compliance regulations and security best practices can be enough to make most developers lose some sleep at night, but when the subjects of encryption & key management in the cloud are brought up… it seems like many of those restless heads start to twitch with other worries as well. It goes beyond what types of data need to be encrypted… to concerns about choosing the right encryption algorithm and properly managing the encryption keys. One of the most reported concerns about encryption is the fear of losing the encryption keys.  If keys are lost, the data remains forever shrouded from view… not only for hackers, but for the you too! Here are three important encryption & key management topics, and three excellent resources that will help you rest easy!

#1 Understand the Importance of Encryption and Key Management

Encrypting your sensitive data is critical to meeting compliance regulations and protecting your organization (and your customers) in the event of a data breach. If you are looking for a non-technical overview, then I highly recommend our most recent eBook, “The Encryption Guide” which covers the importance of encryption as well as critical implementation information such as:

  • When to use encryption
  • What data you should encrypt
  • Where you should encrypt that data
  • Encryption best practices
    (and an excellent summary of compliance regulations)
  • The importance of encryption key management

In order to have a successful encryption solution you must deploy industry standard encryption methodologies, proper encryption key management (NIST validated solutions), and follow administrative and technological best practices such as dual control and separation of duties.

#2 Learn How to Never Lose an Encryption Key

Industry expert, Patrick Townsend addresses the following four topics in greater depth in his blog article “Never Lose an Encryption Key in Windows Azure” and I hope you will check out what he has to say regarding how Alliance Key Manager running in Windows Azure protects you from this potential problem.

  • Backup / Restore
    The first line of defense is always to have a backup of your encryption keys and key access policies. Alliance Key Manager provides you with an option to securely back up your encryption keys, security policies, and server settings and to move this backup out of Windows Azure to your own secure storage...
  • Key and Policy Mirroring
    Alliance Key Manager supports Active-Active (real-time key and security policy) mirroring so that you will always have a full set of your encryption keys available to you even after a failover...
  • Windows Azure Availability Sets
    This is a feature that helps you avoid unplanned outages due to failures of the cloud infrastructure or planned maintenance activities, providing one more way to get the best reliability for your key management infrastructure in the Windows Azure cloud...
  • Mirroring Outside the Windows Azure Cloud
    Lastly, if you are still worried about losing your encryption keys, you can always mirror the keys to a key manager located outside the Windows Azure cloud. We have hardware, hosted, and cloud options for you to choose from!

#3 Know Your Compliance Regulations

Our website is a wealth of information on how encryption and key management meet compliance regulations, and it is frequently a topic in our blog articles!  Storing sensitive data in a multi-tenant environment comes with an additional set of concerns, so we suggest this Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) white paper Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing, v3 that focuses on the CSA guidance - Domain 11 - recommendations for encryption key management. Hardware and software redundancy insure that you will never lose encryption services or encryption keys. Reliability and redundancy is provided through:

  • Dual RAID controlled disk drives and dual power supplies
  • Real time, bi-directional key mirroring
  • On demand and scheduled backups
  • High availability hot failover
  • Load balancing support

In the ever-changing, ever-evolving technical world that we live in, knowledge is power! Our goal is to constantly provide updated, educational content and the best solutions for protecting sensitive data with solid encryption & key management. So while you might be losing sleep over your plans for the summer, but you shouldn’t lose sleep over your encryption strategy!

Start sleeping better by downloading the Encryption Guide:

The Encryption Guide eBook

Topics: Data Security, Encryption, eBook, Encryption Key Management, White Paper

The Definitive Guide to AWS Encryption Key Management
Definitive Guide to VMware Encryption & Key Management


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