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How to manage encryption keys

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Vormetric CoreGuard
The Vormetric system consists of the CoreGuard Security Server appliance and a Policy Enforcement Module (PEM) that runs on Windows, Solaris, AIX, Linux (32- and 64-bit) and HP-UX. The CoreGuard Security Server appliance does storage encryption and key management. It offers the usual FIPS 140-2 Level 3 features.

Symmetric encryption keys are generated, managed and stored on the hardware appliance. They're also securely transmitted to hosts that have CoreGuard PEM. Keys are never disclosed to users. Encryption and access control are enforced automatically, with no user action required. Multiple appliances can be clustered for redundancy and scalability. In addition, encryption keys can be archived and protected with public or private keys, or hardware-based smart cards. Pricing for a security server and one PEM starts at $15,000.

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As encryption becomes more commonplace, the potential for improperly secured or lost encryption keys will grow. The obvious solution is an enterprise-wide system that can issue, track and secure encryption keys in a logical, uniform manner. For the most part, key management systems with those capabilities aren't widely available yet, but a number of vendors are developing them. Keeping track of proliferating encryption keys will only get tougher, so don't put off establishing key management policies and making use of available tools.

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This was first published in October 2006

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