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What You Need To Know About Encryption & EU Data Privacy Protections!

  
  
  
  

Here is a sneak peek at the introduction for the latest regulatory guidance white paper from Townsend Security. For detailed information, download the entire document: Download the EU Data Privacy White Paper

On March 25, 2014, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party of the European Union issued new guidance on data breach notification and the use of data protection technologies such as encryption and encryption key management. Extending beyond just Internet Service Providers, the new regulations cover all organizations that process, store, or transmit private information of EU citizens. Along with these new regulations, there are substantial financial penalties for failing to protect sensitive information. These penalties can reach into the 10’s of millions of Euros depending on the organization’s size and amount of data compromised.

The European Union does not mandate that all organizations immediately encrypt sensitive data, but the only exclusion for subject data breach notification and financial penalties will be for those organizations who use encryption and other security methods to protect the data. Applying these security methods after a breach will not remove the notification requirements and penalties.

EU Data Protection Directive (also known as Directive 95/46/EC) is a directive adopted by the European Union designed to protect the privacy and protection of all personal data collected for or about citizens of the EU, especially as it relates to processing, using, or exchanging such data. The following guidelines will help meet these new EU objectives:

Encrypt Data at Rest

Make a full inventory of all sensitive personal information that you collect and store. Use strong encryption to protect this data on servers, PCs, laptops, tablets, mobile devices, and on backups. Personal data should always be encrypted as it flows through your systems, and when you transmit it to outside organizations.

Use Industry Standard Encryption

Use industry standard encryption such as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES, also known as Rijndael). AES is recognized world-wide as the leading standard for data encryption. Never use home-grown or non-standard encryption algorithms.

Use Strong Encryption Keys

Always use cryptographically secure 128-bit and 256- bit AES encryption keys and never use passwords as encryption keys or the basis for creating encryption keys. Encryption keys based on passwords will never meet minimum standards for strong encryption keys. Keys should be generated using a cryptographically secure random bit generator (CS-RBG) validated to international standards.

Protect Encryption Keys from Loss

Encryption keys must be stored away from the data they protect and must be securely managed. Manual procedures cannot accomplish the goal of proper encryption key management. Use a professional encryption key management solution to protect keys and provide different keys for different data protection needs. Key management solutions should implement key creation, management, and distribution and be compliant with the NIST FIPS 140-2 standard recognized and accepted worldwide.

Change Encryption Keys Regularly

Using one encryption key for a long period of time can expose you to a breach notification for historical data. Change your encryption keys on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. A good key management solution can automatically change encryption keys at an interval you define.

Use Strong, Industry Standard Hash Algorithms

Use strong, industry standard secure hash algorithms when protecting passwords and other information. Never use MD5 or other weaker hash methods. Use the SHA-256 or SHA-512 methods for your hash requirements.

Use Keys or Salt with Your Hashes

When using a strong secure hash algorithm, always use an encryption key or random salt to strengthen the resulting hash value. You can use the Hashed Message Authentication Code (HMAC) method with an encryption key or use a strong encryption key under the protection of a key manager as the salt for the hash method.

For details on the EU Data Protection Directive...


Click to Request the EU Data Privacy White Paper

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Overcome the Top 5 Fears of Encryption & Key Management

  
  
  
  

We all know that in today’s climate of information technology, the steps we take to secure sensitive data must go beyond simply using passwords and firewalls. However, many organizations are still hesitant to adopt encryption and encryption key management, even when it’s mandated by industry regulations and is the strongest safeguard against a data breach. In our new eBook, we’re asking, “What’s preventing you from implementing strong data security?”

New Call-to-action Encryption and encryption key management have a reputation for being costly and difficult. This reputation causes organizations a lot of fear. Many people ask themselves, will an encryption and key management project overtake my time and resources? Will it consume my budget? Will it slow down my systems? The good news is, with evolving technology these fears are now based simply on misconceptions. For many organizations, especially those using the cloud, the cost and ease of an encryption and key management project has been greatly improved due to reduced complexity of the Technology. Also, the idea that encryption and key management severely affect performance is usually a misconception of how encryption and key management work in an IT environment, and with proper key management technology, the fear of losing an encryption key is nearly void.

To learn how to overcome the top five most common fears of implementing encryption and encryption key management, check out the excerpts from the new eBook below!

1. Will encryption & key management affect performance on my systems?

One of the most common fears about encryption and encryption key management is that encrypting data will severely impact system performance. It’s true that encryption will have some impact on performance, but if done right, encryption should rarely impact your performance more than 2-4%. Performance impacts can also vary based on the amount of data you’re encrypting and whether you’re doing whole disk, column and field level, or application level encryption. Because encrypting data at any level is difficult to get right, many organizations that attempt “do-it-yourself” encryption solutions see a much higher performance impact…

2. Encryption & key management is too complicated

In the past, managing encryption keys was incredibly complicated as well as costly and time consuming. Specialized solutions had to be developed for an organization’s specific IT infrastructure in order to provide access as well as limit control to certain users. These projects would take months of development to complete and be complicated for an administrator to manage.

Today encryption and key management is easy with SDKs, sample language libraries, and ready-to-use client side applications provided by key management vendors. Little-to-no programming is required by the user at all, and keys can be automatically generated so that complex configuration steps are entirely eliminated...

3. What if I lose a key?

One of the greatest fears of encryption is key loss. If an organization encrypts data and then loses the encryption key, unless they’ve made a backup of the key or restore access to the key, the data becomes permanently unusable. This could be a nightmare for those encrypting millions of pieces of data, such as customer credit card information that needs to be read and retrieved daily in order to complete transactions and maintain business continuity.

While the fear of losing a key is legitimate, the keystone of a successful encryption solution is encryption key management, which is the primary solution for managing, storing, and most of all, protecting encryption keys...

4. Encryption key management is too expensive

Today, a reputable encryption key management vendor will never overcharge you or have hidden fees or costs, and will provide you with information to help you find the right solution, free of charge.

The climate of data security is always changing. However, one thing we know for sure is that hackers are never going away. Hacking is a profitable and growing industry. Firewalls and strong passwords are no longer considered adequate means for protecting sensitive data...

5. My IT staff is too small!

Another common fear is that an organization’s IT department is too small to handle a project like implementing encryption and encryption key management. Encryption key management has a reputation for being incredibly difficult to implement, and many administrators assume that the time and manpower that must be diverted to complete an encryption key management project isn’t worth doing the project at all.

Although this reputation held true ten years ago, encryption key management today has become so simple that in many scenarios it can be implemented in just a few minutes…

To continue reading, download "Overcome the Top 5 Fears of Encryption and Key Management" today.

eBook: Overcome Encryption Key Management Fears

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SlimTrader Says: "Alliance Key Manager is a Godsend!"

  
  
  
  

Protecting sensitive data stored in Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a major priority for SlimTrader, a company helping businesses and individuals in Africa complete secure transactions via mobile ecommerce solutions. SlimTrader chose AWS to host their extensive database of users based on their ability in AWS to reduce costs and scale up as their business grows. The challenge, however, was to find an encryption and encryption key management solution that also featured low initial costs and could scale as well.

Encryption Key Management AWS Implementing strong encryption and key management in the cloud has been a major challenge in the past. Recently, AWS released the AWS CloudHSM; however, the high startup costs for implementing this encryption key management solution as well as its limitations made this solution an impractical fit. That’s why SlimTrader chose Alliance Key Manager for AWS.  According to Martin Pagel, CTO of Slim Trader:

“Our main challenge is that we’re cloud based, so we can’t use an HSM because we don’t have a physical IT infrastructure. We want to do it the right way, and do it in the cloud. With Alliance Key Manager for AWS I can deploy encryption key management the way I want, and I don’t have to ask anyone in Amazon for help.”

Alliance Key Manager not only scales to meet your business needs, but also gives you complete administrative control over your own virtual key server. Having this level of control is critical in a cloud environment where you may not be sure who you are sharing resources with. Alliance Key Manager also uses the same FIPS 140-2-compliant encryption key management and NIST-validated AES encryption service found in Townsend Security’s HSMs so that you can provably meet compliance requirements for several industry security regulations. Meeting compliance requirements is important to SlimTrader and many of their larger customers.

Overall, Townsend Security helped SlimTrader achieve their security goals and overcome security challenges in four major ways:

  • Making encryption and key management in AWS easy. For many businesses, moving their data to the cloud is simply more practical than assembling an internal IT department. It is also significantly easier.  “The ease of firing up an AKM cloud instance and having control over it appeals to me,” said Pagel, “And I don’t have the limitations of needing to install a physical box.”
  • Making encryption and key management in AWS affordable. SlimTrader also chose AKM for AWS for affordability. With Alliance Key Manager for AWS, SlimTrader is taking advantage of Townsend Security’s no end-point license fee model that will allow them to grow without burdening their budget. For strong data security to become ubiquitous, and for data breaches to become fewer, encryption and key management must become affordable. With AKM for AWS, small businesses such as SlimTrader can lead the way in data breach prevention.
  • Providing encryption and key management that works with their applications. SlimTrader needed a key management solution that would work seamlessly with MySQL and Drupal in AWS. Alliance Key Manager is designed from the ground up to integrate with many platforms, applications, and databases and can protect encryption keys for data encrypted at the application level.
  • Certified Solutions. SlimTrader works with several banks and government agencies in Africa who consider PCI compliance important. “When we manage data on their behalf, we need to manage it securely,” says SlimTrader CTO Martin Pagel. FIPS 140-2 compliance is critical for many organizations who must meet government standards, and important for businesses that want provably defensible encryption key management.  Alliance Key Manager also provides onboard NIST-validated AES encryption service. This service allows you to provably meet compliance regulations for encryption.

To see for yourself how easy encryption and key management can be in Amazon Web Services, download a free 30-day evaluation.

Encryption Key Management AWS

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Volunteer & Community Giving Initiatives at Townsend Security

  
  
  
  

Logistics and the Food Bank

I observe an incredible amount of logistics when I volunteer each month at our local food bank. Food is donated from a multitude of sources including government programs, community food drives and individual contributions. It arrives packed in bulk quantities on pallets from the federal government and in small grocery bags of assorted items from local citizens. All of the items need to be resorted and repackaged so that families will have access to a variety of foods in quantities that meet their needs.

My first few volunteer sessions I floated around to various departments like produce and dairy, but lately find myself consistently in the dry goods sorting room where pallets of assorted items are delivered to the sorting room to take the next steps in the process from arrival to distribution: 

  1. Teams of volunteers sort a box at a time into carts by type so that they can be counted.  
  2. Boxes of donations are resorted into carts by type of item such as canned vegetable, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, large soup, small soup, coffee, tea, baking ~ there are close to forty different sorts. 
  3. Each group of items is then counted and entered into the tracking system that records the amount by donor.  
  4. The counted items are sorted into their storage bins and then stocked to the shelves for clients to choose from.

The same process and sort function goes on in other departments ~ dairy products into yogurt, eggs, milk; pizza & baked goods into smaller packages; produce into bins by type. Any particular item gets handled several times from its initial donation until it ultimately is delivered to the community.

I think I probably demonstrated my accounting inclinations at an early age ~ I was always sorting items by type, color, whatever I could figure out.  I’ve come to see accounting as a giant sort function, taking large amounts of data and sorting it into its relevant buckets.  I find it a bit funny that volunteering with cans of green beans and packets of oatmeal, I am still doing the same function.  

Sandra at the Food Bank

As always, each time I volunteer, I am humbled by the grace and kindness of the volunteers and clients at the food bank.  I am grateful that Townsend Security encourages and allows me the opportunity to contribute back to our community with its Volunteer Program.

Sandra, Controller at Townsend Security

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What are the Differences Between DES and AES Encryption?

  
  
  
  

The time required to crack an encryption algorithm is directly related to
the length of the key used to secure the communication.

Click to Download the White Paper on AES Encryption Every now and then, our development team comes across someone still using antiquated DES for encryption.  If you haven’t made the switch to the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), let’s take a look at the two standards and see why you should!

Data Encryption Standard (DES):

DES is a symmetric block cipher (shared secret key), with a key length of 56-bits. Published as the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 46 standard in 1977, DES was officially withdrawn in 2005 [although NIST has approved Triple DES (3DES) through 2030 for sensitive government information].

The federal government originally developed DES encryption over 35 years ago to provide cryptographic security for all government communications. The idea was to ensure government systems all used the same, secure standard to facilitate interconnectivity.

To show that the DES was inadequate and should not be used in important systems anymore, a series of challenges were sponsored to see how long it would take to decrypt a message. Two organizations played key roles in breaking DES: distributed.net and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

  • The DES I contest (1997) took 84 days to use a brute force attack to break the encrypted message.
  • In 1998, there were two DES II challenges issued. The first challenge took just over a month and the decrypted text was "The unknown message is: Many hands make light work". The second challenge took less than three days, with the plaintext message "It's time for those 128-, 192-, and 256-bit keys".
  • The final DES III challenge in early 1999 only took 22 hours and 15 minutes. Electronic Frontier Foundation's Deep Crack computer (built for less than $250,000) and distributed.net's computing network found the 56-bit DES key, deciphered the message, and they (EFF & distributed.net) won the contest. The decrypted message read "See you in Rome (Second AES Candidate Conference, March 22-23, 1999)", and was found after checking about 30 percent of the key space...Finally proving that DES belonged to the past.

Even Triple DES (3DES), a way of using DES encryption three times, proved ineffective against brute force attacks (in addition to slowing down the process substantially).

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES):

Published as a FIPS 197 standard in 2001. AES data encryption is a more mathematically efficient and elegant cryptographic algorithm, but its main strength rests in the option for various key lengths. AES allows you to choose a 128-bit, 192-bit or 256-bit key, making it exponentially stronger than the 56-bit key of DES. In terms of structure, DES uses the Feistel network which divides the block into two halves before going through the encryption steps. AES on the other hand, uses permutation-substitution, which involves a series of substitution and permutation steps to create the encrypted block. The original DES designers made a great contribution to data security, but one could say that the aggregate effort of cryptographers for the AES algorithm has been far greater.

One of the original requirements by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the replacement algorithm was that it had to be efficient both in software and hardware implementations (DES was originally practical only in hardware implementations). Java and C reference implementations were used to do performance analysis of the algorithms. AES was chosen through an open competition with 15 candidates from as many research teams around the world, and the total amount of resources allocated to that process was tremendous. Finally, in October 2000, a NIST press release announced the selection of Rijndael as the proposed Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

Comparing DES and AES

  DES AES
Developed 1977 2000
Key Length 56 bits 128, 192, or 256 bits
Cipher Type Symmetric block cipher Symmetric block cipher
Block Size 64 bits 128 bits
Security Proven inadequate Considered secure


So the question remains for anyone still using DES encryption…
How can we help you make the switch to AES?
 

Click to Request the White Paper on AES Encryption
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5 Reasons to Join Townsend Security’s Drupal Developer Program

  
  
  
  

Data security in Drupal is a top concern. Townsend Security recently launched our Drupal Developer Program to engage Drupal developers in building stronger, more secure websites, and to give back to the Drupal community by creating a collaborative network of Drupal developers concerned with data security and compliance regulations. Members of the Drupal Developer Program gain free access to Alliance Key Manager, our FIPS 140-2 compliant cloud key manager, as well as NIST-validated AES onboard encryption, for non-production testing and development.

Drupal Developer Program Many Drupal developers today run up against tricky situations when developing websites that collect sensitive data such as payment card information, personally identifiable information (PII), and user passwords--not just commerce information. Developers are asking themselves, “what compliance regulations do I face”, “which data needs to be encrypted”, and “how do I do encryption and key management right to meet compliance?”

With Key Connection for Drupal, an API designed to offboard encryption keys to a secure key server, encryption and key management is made easier than ever.  Now Drupal developers can join the Drupal Developer Program and learn how to do encryption and key management right.

Here are the top reasons to consider joining the Drupal Developer Program:

1. Encryption and key management is critical to effective data security in Drupal website development.
Today, Drupal is a top CMS for all kinds of websites. Some of these websites, such as commerce, health, and government websites collect sensitive data from users that must be encrypted under compliance regulations such as PCI, HIPAA and FISMA. These compliance regulations also have clear language strongly recommending, if not requiring, encryption and key management.
As Drupal developers take on larger clients, these compliance regulations become a greater concern. Historically, the Encrypt module could be used to encrypt any sensitive data collected; however, there was no adequate means to protect encryption keys. Today, with Key Connection for Drupal, developers can help their clients manage encryption keys away from encrypted data on a secure key server and create websites that effectively protect sensitive data.

2. Learn how to encrypt sensitive data and properly manage encryption keys
In the last year, many of the largest data breaches could have been avoided if proper encryption and key management was implemented. Within the Drupal Developer Program, Drupal developers can learn how to implement encryption and key management into their projects from the ground up. Encrypting and management encryption keys is actually quite easy now in Drupal, and learning how to use these tools will prepare Drupal developers for larger projects that require strong data security.

3. Implement strong data security in your web development projects from the ground up
Adding data security after-the-fact is difficult. Building your websites and applications using strong encryption and key management from the ground up prevents data security projects from turning into a massive headache. The Drupal Developer Program allows developers to test encryption and key management in their projects from the start to avoid a complicated project down the road.

4. Build your knowledge of compliance requirements and help to educate your colleagues
Our Drupal Developer Program is designed to educate developers on encryption and key management best practices as well as any compliance regulations you may face. We continuously offer resources to help you learn what you need to know to meet PCI DSS, HIPAA, GLBA/FFIEC, FISMA, and other compliance regulations, as well as state privacy law requirements.

5. It’s free!
There’s no charge to join our Drupal Developer Program. With free access, we hope to give Drupal Developers the freedom to learn about, test, and implement strong encryption and key management so that you will become a security thought leader in your own organization!
Drupal Developer Program Encryption Key Management

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Encrypting Data In Amazon Web Services (AWS)

  
  
  
  

Amazon Web Services is a deep and rich cloud platform supporting a wide variety of operating systems, AWS services, and third party applications and services. It is a bewildering array of capabilities with lots of places to store sensitive data. Let’s explore some of the ways that our Alliance Key Manager solution helps AWS customers and partners protect this data. This is a bird’s eye view, and we’ll dive into this in more depth in future blogs:

Amazon AWS Services

Encrypting data in AWS Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)
Alliance Key Manager provides encryption key retrieval and an on-device encryption service to make it easy for your applications to encrypt data in RDS. Townsend Security SDKs can easily be used to provide encryption at the application layer.

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
Alliance Key Manager lets you retrieve 256-bit AES keys in Base64 encoded format ready for use with RDS customer supplied encryption key services. You can easily deploy an AKM dedicated key management service to support encrypting and decrypting files in S3 storage.

Amazon Elastic Block Storage
Amazon Machine Instances (AMIs) provide access to EBS for simple unstructured storage requirements. Townsend Security SDKs can easily be used to provide encryption at the application layer.

Amazon DynamoDB (NoSQL)
The AWS NoSQL implementation does not provide encryption services, but you can easily implement encryption at the application layer using the Townsend Security SDKs. With support for many programming languages you can implement the encryption and key management services you need to meet compliance regulations.

Application Databases:

Microsoft SQL Server
Alliance Key Manager includes a license for Townsend Security’s Key Connection for SQL Server application that supports Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) and Cell Level Encryption for Enterprise edition. This EKM provider installs in your Windows SQL Server environment and enables encryption without any programming. For SQL Server Standard and Web Editions Alliance Key Manager includes a license for the Townsend Security Windows Client for snap-in encryption support.

Oracle Database
Oracle Database encryption support is provided through SDKs that are free of charge with Alliance Key Manager. Java, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby and C# SDKs and sample code enable rapid deployment of encryption in Oracle environments. Sample PL/SQL code is also available for Oracle Linux platforms.

MySQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL, etc.
Open source database encryption support is provided through SDKs that are free of charge with Alliance Key Manager. Java, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby and C# SDKs and sample code enable rapid deployment of encryption in these environments.

Software SDKs for Amazon Web Services:

A rich set of application SDKs are available for many programming languages. These SDKs provide support for Java, Microsoft .NET languages (C#, VB.NET, etc.), Perl, Ruby, Python, PHP, and others. These SDKs are provided at no charge to Alliance Key Manager customers.

Application Plugins for Amazon Web Services:

Drupal Encryption and Key Management
Alliance Key Manager integrates naturally with the Drupal web CMS using the Drupal Encrypt module and Townsend Security’s Key Connection for Drupal module available on Drupal.org. Drupal users can retrieve encryption keys for use with local encryption, or use the Alliance Key Manager Encryption Service to encrypt and decrypt data in the key manager with NIST-validated AES encryption.

SQL Server Transparent Data Encryption
Alliance Key Manager integrates directly into the Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise edition database to provide Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) support using the Townsend Security Key Connection for SQL Server application.

SQL Server Cell Level Encryption
Alliance Key Manager integrates directly into the Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise edition database to provide Cell Level Encryption support using the Townsend Security Key Connection for SQL Server application.

Encryption & Key Management in AWS

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Encryption Options for Microsoft SQL Server

  
  
  
  

Encrypting data in Microsoft SQL Server is easy to do, yet often difficult to understand because of the different encryption options offered in various versions.

SQL Server Encryption Options Podcast It used to be said that “encryption is the hardest part of data security, and key management is the hardest part of encryption”. While that may have been true a few years ago, we are constantly working to make affordable, easy-to-use, defensible solutions that meet security best practices and industry compliance regulations. Separating and managing the encryption keys from the data they protect is still one of the biggest challenges in terms of doing an encryption project right, so let’s take a look at what encryption & key management options are available for SQL Server users.

If you are running the Enterprise Edition of SQL Server, version 2008 or newer, you have access to Microsoft’s architecture for encryption called Extensible Key Management (EKM). This provider interface allows for third-party key management systems to be easily incorporated in order to separate encryption keys from the encrypted data they protect. A key management solution should provide Windows client libraries, guidance, and sample code within the solution.

The SQL Server EKM architecture supports:

Transparent Data Encryption (TDE)
With TDE, the entire database table (including the logs you are collecting) is encrypted.  It is a very easy mechanism to use for encryption and since it is transparent, no application level changes are needed, it only takes a few commands to implement. TDE protects data at rest, including backups and log files.

Cell Level Encryption
Also known as column-level encryption, this allows for you to selectively encrypt certain columns of information in your database. This option makes sense if you have large databases of information, and only access encrypted columns periodically.

If you are running older versions of SQL Server (pre-2008), or using non-enterprise editions such as standard, web, or express; you do not have access to TDE or EKM. You still have good options for protecting your data with encryption, just remember the encryption key needs to be separated from the encrypted data it protects.

When you don’t have the EKM architecture, another option for encrypting data in your SQL Server database is to perform encryption and decryption at the application layer using .NET-based encryption. All editions of SQL Server support the ability to perform encryption from within the .NET framework with very straightforward code functions.

C# and VB.NET Application Encryption
If you are developing in .NET you only need to plug in the client side application and implement a few lines of code for your encryption and decryption calls.

Column Level Encryption
Another approach would be to combine User Described Functions (UDFs) with triggers and views to help automate the encryption and decryption at the column level.

Moving SQL Server Data to the Cloud

As more companies migrate their applications and data to the cloud, there are security issues to consider before making that move. Microsoft Azure SQL Database (MASD) -which has also been called SQL Azure, SQL Server Data Services, SQL Services, Windows Azure SQL Database- is a cloud-based service from Microsoft offering database capabilities as a part of the Azure Services Platform. The service is easy to use and readily available, just know that there are some constraints and some features of EKM that are not available when using MASD.  

Most businesses migrating to the cloud will choose to run virtual machines that contain the Windows OS and a full implementation of the SQL Server database. By using a virtual machine, encryption and key management, including EKM with TDE, can be fully supported and provide the level of security you expect and compliance regulations require!  

You have many options still available for your key management solution when your data has been moved to the cloud. Our NIST validated, FIPS 140-2 compliant Alliance Key Manager solutions are available as:

    • Hardware Security Module (HSM) - a hardened appliance that you can rack up in your own data center
    • Cloud HSM - dedicated hardware device in our hosted cloud environment
    • VMware - deploy as a virtual appliance
    • Cloud - deploy in Windows Azure, Amazon Web Services, or IBM Cloud as a standard cloud instance or virtual private cloud

To learn more about encrypting data on SQL Server, managing encryption keys, and how we are helping companies protect their data with Alliance Key Manager, download the podcast on Encryption Options on SQL Server.  

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Encryption & Key Management for Amazon Web Services (AWS)

  
  
  
  

Security is the biggest barrier to cloud adoption, and encryption of sensitive data is the hardest part of security. Once you decide to encrypt your sensitive data, getting encryption key management right is the biggest challenge. Storing an encryption key in the same cloud instance with the protected data is faux security, and won’t pass the sniff test in any audit or review of security best practices. So, where do you store the encryption keys?

Encrypting data in AWS In Amazon Web Services (AWS), you now have a new key management option that perfectly fits the AWS architecture and usage model, enables security best practices such as Separation of Duties and Dual Control, and provably meets industry standards such as FIPS 140-2.

Alliance Key Manager for AWS extends our Cloud Service Provider support to the popular Amazon platform alongside our existing cloud support for Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, and VMware vSphere cloud platforms. For cloud users who need dedicated key management HSMs, our existing Alliance Key Manager Cloud HSM solution will serve AWS customers.

Alliance Key Manager for AWS uses the same FIPS 140-2 compliant technology as our network-attached hardware security module (HSM) solution. You can deploy the Alliance Key Manager AMI directly from the AWS Marketplace, and have a functional encryption key management solution dedicated to you and ready to use in SECONDS with an automatic 30-day evaluation license. You do not share any part of your key management with anyone else, and you have exclusive management of encryption keys. There is no aspect of key management administration that is under the control of Townsend Security, the cloud provider, or anyone else. There is no part of your encryption key that is shared with Townsend Security, and no dependence on any encryption service outside of your key management AMI.

Customers who register with Townsend Security get access to our encryption applications, SDKs, customer support, extended documentation, developer program, and optional Premium support. It’s the perfect AWS key management solution for both small organizations and large enterprises who want to deploy an affordable key management solution based on industry standards and certifications.

In addition to traditional key management, Alliance Key Manager for AWS implements Encryption-as-a-Service. You don’t have to retrieve an encryption key, perform encryption in your application, and then zero the encryption key. To minimize the chance of exposing the encryption key to loss, you can directly send data to the key manager and have it encrypted and returned to your applications. You leverage Alliance Key Manager’s NIST-validated AES encryption and the key never leaves the key manager.

Until now Amazon Web Service customers had no access to simple, affordable, and compliant encryption key management solutions. All of that has changed with Alliance Key Manager for AWS.

Enjoy.

Patrick

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Overcoming the Top 4 Fears of Encryption and Key Management

  
  
  
  

Implementing strong data security to protect sensitive data is a top priority for many businesses. Not only does processing and storing sensitive data put you at risk for data loss or breach, it also means that you must meet certain industry regulations and possibly undergo periodic data security audits. Encryption and key management is required if not strongly recommended by many industry regulators such as the Payment Card Industry (PCI) and HIPAA; however, these technologies have a reputation for being difficult, costly, and causing severe impact on server or application performance.

eBook - Encryption Key Management Simplified Today this reputation doesn’t holds true, and these common fears can, in fact, get in the way of implementing a strong security solution.

Fear #1 : Encryption & Key Management Will Affect Performance On My System and Applications
One of the most common fears about encryption and encryption key management is that encrypting data will severely impact system performance. It’s true that encryption will have some impact on performance, but if done right, encryption should should never impact your performance more than 2-4%. Performance impacts can also vary based on the amount of data you’re encryption and whether you’re doing whole disk, column and field level, or application level encryption. Because encrypting data at any level is difficult to get right, many organizations who attempt “do-it-yourself” encryption solutions see a much higher performance impact.

Application level encryption is considered the best way to encrypt sensitive data as well as the most difficult. Within an application, an administrator can be selective about which types of data should be encrypted, and which data can be stored in the clear. Therefor the encryption is targeted and only performed on necessary data, which reduces overall performance impact. If done properly, application level encryption will not interfere with your applications.

Fear #2: What if I Lose an Encryption Key?
While the fear of losing a key is legitimate, the keystone of a successful encryption solution is encryption key management, which is the primary solution for managing, storing, and most importantly, protecting encryption keys. Unlike a “key storage” solution, a cryptographic encryption key manager is typically a NIST FIPS 140-2 compliant hardware security module (HSM) or virtual machine in the cloud that manages key storage, creation, deletion, retrieval, rotation, and archival. Many key management solutions are also produced in pairs, with one located in a different geographical location for high availability. If doing encryption key management right, you will never lose an encryption key.

Fear #3: Encryption Key Management Is Too Expensive
Perceived cost is a common barrier for many organizations. However, cutting corners and choosing a third-rate solution is a lot like choosing the cheapest and least reputable car insurance policy: it might get you through the day, but should you ever have an accident, you’ll deeply regret it. Data breaches are no longer a matter of “if,” but “when,” and when a breach happens, it might be the kind that costs you your entire business. Luckily, strong, certified encryption key management solutions are becoming less costly as demand rises and data moves to the cloud. Cost should never be a barrier to good security, and choosing a subscription-based cloud key management solution might be your best way to overcome any cost barriers.

Fear #4: My IT Staff is Too Small
Another common fear is that an organization’s IT department is too small to handle a project like implementing encryption and encryption key management. Encryption key management has a reputation for being incredibly difficult to implement, and many administrators assume that the time and manpower that must be diverted to complete an encryption key management project isn’t worth doing the project at all.

Although this reputation held true ten years ago, encryption key management today has become so simple that in many scenarios can be implemented in less than ten minutes. Of course, ease of implementation always varies depending on your IT infrastructure, platforms, and applications; however, a reputable encryption key management vendor knows that IT departments vary and can work with a variety of platforms in multi-platform environments.

To learn more about encryption key management, download the eBook, Encryption Key Management Simplified.

Encryption Key Management Simplified eBook

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