Encryption Key Management Definition & Meaning
Encryption key management is the process of protecting and storing encryption keys through usage policies, encryption, generation, and destruction. Not only do enterprises need to encrypt sensitive data, but they also need to protect the encryption keys that decrypt that data. Protection measures can include using encryption keys to protect other encryption keys (multiple layers of encryption), key management systems or software, and backing up keys properly. Encryption key management must meet the demands of scaling to protect ever-increasing amounts of data as well as legal demands for key management, such as appropriate security precautions and compliance regulations.
Encryption keys should only be used for a determined period of time, which depends on the sensitivity of the data they protect. The more security that’s needed, the shorter a key’s life becomes. A key’s lifespan is known as its crypto period. Keeping a key active for an overly long period of time is dangerous; it allows more opportunity for someone to gain unauthorized access to it. Part of encryption key management is generating new keys, cycling old ones out, and eventually destroying them.
Key management software is available for the cloud, but another common method of key management is the hardware security module (HSM), which stores encryption keys in a physical module. HSM-as-a-Service is another option - it provides a combination of cloud and hardware key management and storage.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requires that organizations protect customer data and encrypt it in certain cases. Encryption key management can help businesses comply with those standards because it protects data, makes regular changes to encryption keys, and backs keys up.
Key management API
A key management application program interface (API) performs key management and key usage functions. Key management involves storing, creating, and destroying encryption keys; usage involves managing permissions, decryption, and authorization/authentication - transferring keys to the appropriate user when requested. Large cloud providers will have request forms or codes available (on their website, for example) so that users can submit an access request for their key.
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 text message and online chat abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Includes Top... Read More »Huge List of Computer Certifications
Have you heard about a computer certification program but can't figure out if it's right for you? Use this handy list to help you decide. Read More »
Computer architecture provides an introduction to system design basics for most computer science students. Read More »Network Fundamentals Study Guide
Networking fundamentals teaches the building blocks of modern network design. Learn different types of networks, concepts, architecture and... Read More »The Five Generations of Computers
Learn about each of the five generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that we use... Read More »