Key Management Refresher: Who is Managing Whom?
For any organization managing encryption keys, the process of creating, maintaining, and improving a key management system can seem a frustrating or even impossible task. These feelings of frustration often stem from a few prominent mistakes that frequently occur. Beyond simple annoyance with an inefficient system, key management mistakes can have a far more damaging effect: data breaches. Fortunately, these mistakes are easily preventable with some instruction. In our free whitepaper, Ten Key Management Mistakes…And How to Avoid Them, we discuss ten actions that can make or break a key management system.
So you’ve been charged with the task of managing encryption keys for your organization. If you’re not careful, those encryption keys you’re supposed to be managing may end up managing you. Don’t let an inefficient key management system hinder you from doing your job well. There are many features out there that can take the inconvenience out of key management. By leveraging this advanced technology, you can move from a system forcing you into certain situations to a system in which you are in complete control.
Remote Key Management and Configuration
Your key administrators no longer have to travel around the world for routine key management procedures. Look for solutions that can conduct remote key injection via Public Key Infrastructures (PKI), have automated API-driven key management, enable secure web access, and centrally manage hardware across multiple locations.
User-Friendly GUI (Graphic User Interface)
No key management network is completely automated; some processes still require human interaction, such as loading major keys. A user-friendly GUI reduces the amount of employee training needed in order to conduct key management tasks, makes tasks less frustrating, and allows users to accomplish tasks more quickly.
Are you dealing with a key management system that makes you want to pull your hair out whenever you need to incorporate upgrades or changes? If making upgrades take an extensive amount of time or work, they likely won’t happen as quickly or as often as they should, making your system less secure. When adding new technology to your system, products that may be more expensive up front will likely save you a headache later. Scalable technology will allow you to:
- Easily add license or software-based upgrades in the future
- Upgrade products without taking them offline or out of service
- Upgrade your infrastructure within minutes, rather than hours or days
- Push upgrades across multiple products, rather than having to update each component individually
If your system limits you to one type of alerting and notification technology, you are missing out on some convenient features. Look for solutions that are easily configurable with the following technologies:
- Syslog: System administrators can consolidate and monitor multiple logs, users, and system activity through syslog.
- SMS (Short Message Service): System administrators can be automatically notified on their cell phones via text message if any issues arise in their key management network.
- SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol): System administrators can set up routine email notifications when keys or certificates are about to expire, as well as email alerts for technical issues.
- SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol): System administrators can set up a dedicated monitoring server to watch over devices and respond or alert administrators of technical issues, monitor performance output, and issue notifications.
Check out the following infographic and see which system administrator you relate with more: