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Townsend Security Data Privacy Blog

How Can I Manage and Monitor Alliance Key Manager in Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

Posted by Patrick Townsend on Aug 19, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Alliance Key Manager for AWS runs as a stand-alone EC2 virtual machine in the AWS cloud. This is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas) implementation which means that the solution includes the operating system (Linux) and the key manager application all within the AMI and active EC2 instance. There are several ways you can manage and monitor the key server.

How to Meet Best Practices for Protecting Information in AWS by Stephen WynkoopThe server components of Alliance Key Manager, such as the network interface, firewall, system logging, backup, and other operating system components are managed through a secure web browser interface. The secure browser session does not provide for management of encryption keys, but lets you perform various common server management tasks.

The Alliance Key Manager Administrative Console is a PC application that provides a GUI interface for the secure management of encryption keys and key access policy. You can manage multiple key managers through a single console instance and you can check the status of the key manager.

The Linux operating system of Alliance Key Manager provides a number of other ways to manage and monitor the key server. You can set firewall rules to control which client systems are authorized to access the key server, and you can set up system log forwarding to your log collection server or Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution running either inside or outside of AWS. Actively monitoring your security systems like Alliance Key Manager is a security best practice. You can easily monitor Linux system logs, web logs, firewall logs, and other system logs and transmit them to your SIEM log collection server.

Alliance Key Manager also creates audit and diagnostic logs that you can forward with the native syslog-ng daemon within the key manager. Every user and administrative access to Alliance Key Manager is logged to the audit file and errors are logged to the error log file. Both of these files should be forwarded to you SIEM log collection server.

Alliance Key Manager also implements a “NO-OP” command to provide for monitoring the up/down status of the key server. Your monitoring solution can periodically issue the No-Op command to the key server to determine the status of current key operations. The No-Op command is a lightweight transaction and you can safely monitor the status of the key server every few seconds if desired.

Many of our customers ask us if they can install third-party management and monitoring applications. In the past we’ve been restrictive about the installation of third party components, but we came to realize how important they are to many AWS customers. We now allow you to install these applications with the caveat that you must be responsible for their secure installation and deployment. Our customers are now installing applications like Chef and Nagios for active monitoring.

You should also be aware that Amazon provides a number of monitoring tools that you can use with any EC2 instance. One of the most common AWS monitoring tools is the Amazon CloudWatch.

You can use the CloudWatch facility to monitor the status of your Alliance Key Manager EC2 instance. This can help with early detection of potential problems.

Lastly, Alliance Key Manager is an API-driven enterprise key management solution. That is, all key management tasks that are performed from the Administrative Console can be performed from user applications or from the command line. In fact, the Administrative Console is built on these APIs. You can create your own applications that drive these functions without user intervention if you need to. This facility is very helpful for our partners who need to embed automated key management into their own AWS solutions.

You can find more information about Alliance Key Manager for AWS here.

How to Meet Best Practices for Protecting Information in AWS by Stephen Wynkoop

Topics: Alliance Key Manager

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