Why Organisations Need Entreprise Key Management?

DuoKey
4 min readMar 12, 2024

The Midnight Blizzard attack on Microsoft in January 2024 serves as a reminder of the ever-present threat cyberattacks pose to organisations of all sizes and industries. It underscores the importance of robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive information and mitigate risks of data breaches. While encryption has become a crucial tool for protecting sensitive information, it is only as strong as the system that protects it.

Let’s discover how encryption can be ineffective without proper key management practices and explore why Entreprise Key Management is essential for organisations to truly secure their sensitive data and confidential documents.

The Challenges of Encryption

Today, encryption is paramount in protecting sensitive data within cloud environments, transforming readable information into indecipherable data through cryptographic keys.

As reliance on encryption grows, so does the number of keys that needs to be managed — from data at rest and in transit to application and cloud service keys. In sectors like finance, automotive, or healthcare, it’s not uncommon to juggle thousands or even millions of encryption keys.

This complex web of cryptographic keys represents a vulnerability for organisations aiming to safeguard their sensitive data. Given that anyone with access to the encryption key can unlock the encrypted data, the security of this data critically relies upon the effective management of these keys.

The exploitation of weak encryption practices is, in fact, extremely common in data breaches and cyberattacks, often stemming from:

  • Poor key storage: this is when encryption keys are stored in insecure locations, like in plaintext within disks (PEM file) as the data they protect or in accessible locations without adequate protection, similar to the STORM-0558 attack’s modus operandi.
  • Inadequate key rotation policies: encryption keys remain unchanged for long periods of time. The more the keys stay the same, the more likely it is to be compromised.
  • Lack of access controls and auditing: this is when there is a lack of controls and auditing measures to define who can access and use encryption keys. Unauthorised users or insiders with malicious intent might gain access to keys and use them to decrypt sensitive information.

The consequences of inadequate encryption key management can lead to data breaches and cyberattacks with nefarious side effects, including financial loss, operational disruptions, and brand damage, as well as compliance violations.

Effectively managing keys not only means safely storing encryption keys, but it includes the whole key lifecycle, from key generation to distribution, rotation, usage and destruction.

Key Lifecycle Management — DuoKey

Proper key management practices are required for ensuring the continuity of business operations and prevents operational disruptions. For example, the management of expired public key infrastrucre (PKI) certificates can become a significant challenge, which can in turn lead to significant outages.

Satellite internet constellation operator Starlink is one of the many companies that learnt it the hard way. In 2023, the service experienced several hours of outage due to expired certificates.

It is therefore critical for organisations to integrate effective encryption practices not only to mitigate unauthorised access to sensitive data, data breaches and compliance violations, but as well as to ensure continuity of business operations.

This is where Entreprise Key Management comes at play.

The Need for Enterprise Key Management (EKM)

Entreprise Key Management, or EKM for short, is the control of encryption keys across an organisation. It includes the policies, procedures, and technology designed to protect, manage, and maintain encryption keys throughout their lifecycle.

The main goal of EKM is to ensure that encryption keys are securely created, stored, distributed, rotated, and retired in a way that protects sensitive data from unauthorised access while maintaining its availability and integrity.

The Rationale Behind EKM Adoption

EKM provides a centralised and comprehensive approach to key management, which allows organisations to address the challenges and vulnerabilities associated with encryptions keys.

EKM provides:

  • Enhanced data security: EKM mitigates the risk of key-related vulnerabilities. It ensures that keys are stored securely and allows for better monitoring and control over keys, enhancing the protection of their sensitive data and documents.
  • Regulatory compliance: EKM helps organisations to comply with regulatory requirements regarding data protection, mitigating the risk of compliance violations and associated financial and legal penalties.
  • Simplification: EKM provides the right tools and processes to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of cryptographic keys from key generation to destruction.

Simplifying EKM Implementation

Implementing EKM might seem daunting, but solutions like DuoKey streamline this process. DuoKey’s Key Management System (KMS) integrates seamlessly with major cloud platforms like Microsoft, AWS, Salesforce, Oracle, and Google.

For maximum security, this solution leverages Multi-Party Computation (MPC), which divides and distributes encryption key parts across multiple servers. This ensures the highest level of control and security over your encryption keys, even in case of a data breach.

DuoKey Multi-Party Computation MPC Key Management System
DuoKey’s Multi-Party Computation-based Key Management System (KMS)

Conclusion

As data breaches and cyberattacks are on the rise, the importance of protecting sensitive data cannot be overlooked. While encryption plays a significant role, effective key management is essential to ensure security and integrity of encrypted data. After all, data is only as secure as the system guarding the encryption key.

Enterprise Key Management enables organisation to protect their sensitive data and mitigate risks of data breaches, while meeting regulatory requirements. With effective Enterprise Key Management systems, organisations can implement strong and robust encryption key practices to safeguard their sensitive information in an increasingly interconnected and dematerialised world.

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DuoKey

DuoKey Key Management Service is based on innovative Multi-Party computation (MPC) that provides advanced encryption services without relying on HSM