You have probably heard of the cloud before, but have you heard you heard of cloud HSMs? Unless you work in tech, then the answer is probably no. HSM stands for Hardware Security Modules. HSMs are vital for total data security. All of the cloud industry’s largest service providers offer HSM services so that companies using cloud services can keep their cloud data secured. Considering the fact that cybercrime is on the rise, implementing solutions like HSM can be an effective way to counter fraud or theft.

Here are six things that you need to know about cloud HSMs:

What Are HSMs?

HSMs are hardware devices used to store cryptographic keys. Cloud HSMs are essentially just HSMs that are hosted on a cloud, rather than a hard drive. However, there’s a lot more to HSMs than just being secure storage devices. HSMs provide protection against attacks, prevent tampering, and also aid with the generation of keys.

HSMs are a fundamental part of modern IT infrastructure. If you are a business owner, then it’s very likely that your business needs a cloud HSM to keep data secure. It is very important for your business’s sake that you introduce safeguarding measures, like the use of a cloud HSM. Unfortunately, cybercrime is becoming more and more common. Even small businesses are being targeted by criminals so that they can access their data. It’s also good to invest in additional safeguarding measures, like anti-virus software and a firewall.

Security Compliance

Most businesses collect their client’s personal information these days. If yours does, then an HSM is absolutely essential. Many businesses today don’t have offices though, which makes physical HSMs unnecessary. A cloud HSM enables businesses to protect their client’s data remotely. In order to operate legally in most nations, businesses have to be security compliant. A cloud HSM can help businesses to achieve total compliance. If you don’t ensure that your organization is compliant with federal regulations, then a leak could destroy your business. Not only will customers be able to take legal action against you, but the government bodies responsible for ensuring security compliance will issue fines.

At the very least, a data leak will result in your business developing a bad reputation. Consumers won’t want to do business with you if they don’t think that you safeguard their data. Data leaks can destroy the reputations of businesses of all sizes. HSMs can prevent data leaks from occurring.

Cloud Service

Physical HSMs can be expensive and aren’t a realistic investment for many small businesses. Cloud HSM services ensure that businesses from all levels are able to benefit from the robust security that’s on offer. If you are planning on getting cloud HSM protection, then it’s a very good idea to conduct online research and explore what your options are. A lot of people get their HSM services from the industry’s largest providers, like Google and Microsoft, but this isn’t always the best idea.

Working with smaller companies can allow you to get quality HSM services, without having to pay the added premium that’s associated with working with large organizations. Before hiring a company for HSM services, make sure that you read their reviews. An organization’s reviews will tell you a lot about it and give you a glimpse into how it treats its clients.

Key Management

When you use an HSM, you are able to keep your keys stored in a single place. HSMs even allow the world’s largest and most prominent businesses to store their keys efficiently. If you haven’t got much IT experience and don’t understand what the term ‘key’ means, then a key is a piece of information, usually a numerical or alphabetical string, that’s stored in a file. The keys are used to lock or unlock cryptographic functions, such as authorization, authentication, and encryption.

If you are a business owner, then it’s very important that you efficiently manage keys. If you don’t then you could run into a lot of problems. As mentioned earlier on, it’s also very important that you safeguard your keys. If they fall into the wrong hands, then all of your business’s most sensitive information and data could follow.

Archived Keys

When a key is no longer needed daily but may be needed in the future, it is archived. If it isn’t archived in a secure place, however, then it can be leaked and fall into the hands of cybercriminals. Despite an inactive key’s redundancy, it can still be used in a way that negatively impacts your business. Additionally, just because a key’s out of use, that doesn’t mean that you can’t fall afoul of industry regulations if it is leaked. Before HSMs were introduced, archiving keys was very problematic, because leaks could go undetected due to poor archive security. A key can still be used to steal information because all of the data that was used with it will be decommissioned with it.

When you use cloud HSM services, you are given access to a huge library, where you can store outdated, redundant, and decommissioned keys. The ability to archive keys on a large scale will ensure that you don’t ever have to worry about any form of theft or any data leaks.

Data Disposal

Another service that’s offered by cloud HSMs is complete data deletion. When you decide that a key is no longer needed or that data is totally redundant and will serve absolutely no benefit in the future, then it should be permanently destroyed. An HSM can make this possible.

It’s important to delete redundant data, because it can cause data anomalies and corruption,  in addition to causing problems if it’s leaked. If you want to learn how to delete data permanently on your cloud HSM service, then it’s a good idea to speak to the service’s provider. An additional thing to consider when looking for a service provider is high-quality customer support. If a service provider’s customer support isn’t up to scratch, then getting your problems resolved can be very difficult.

A cloud HSM can significantly improve your organization’s data management and security. If you want to maintain regulatory compliance while simultaneously protecting your firm’s data, then an HSM is worth considering. Cloud HSMs are a much better option than physical ones because they are more accessible and a lot more cost-efficient.

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