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HashiCorp Vault vs. Akeyless Vaultless Secrets Management

Hashicorp vault vs. akeyless

An In-Depth Analysis for Modern Enterprises

With secrets management a top priority for 1 in 3 security experts and 96% of businesses set to implement centralized secrets management platforms in 2024, choosing the right secrets manager is a pivotal decision for your enterprise. This analysis offers a clear, head-to-head comparison of HashiCorp Vault vs. Akeyless SaaS Secrets Management, focusing on their features, deployment methods, and data protection abilities. 

Arm yourself with this essential knowledge to select a secrets management solution that perfectly fits your enterprise’s specific requirements.

First, what is Secrets Management?

Secrets management involves securely managing sensitive data such as API keys, credentials, and certificates. Relying on outdated methods such as hardcoding or using configuration files leads to substantial security vulnerabilities. Neglecting managing secrets in your enterprise will eventually result in serious consequences, including data breaches and significant damage to your organization’s reputation and operations. 

Secrets Management tools are essential for modern enterprises to avoid breaches like we’ve seen from Uber, LastPass and Microsoft. They offer centralized, secure repositories that ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your critical data, effectively mitigating the risks associated with older storage techniques.

Now, let’s compare today’s top solutions: HashiCorp Vault vs. Akeyless SaaS Secrets Management.

Comparing HashiCorp Vault and Akeyless’ Vaultless Secrets Management Approach

When you’re deciding between HashiCorp Vault and Akeyless Vaultless Secrets Management, you’re looking at two leading solutions in the field. Here’s what you need to know:

HashiCorp Vault

This platform offers a unified way to manage secrets like API keys and passwords. It supports access methods including a Web UI, SDK, CLI, and REST APIs. However, its broad capabilities come with a caveat: it requires significant resources for effective operation and management due to its deployment model, which requires multiple clusters for each region or business unit, usually deployed and supported by the organization itself.

Akeyless Vaultless SaaS Secrets Management

In contrast, Akeyless brings a modern Vaultless twist with its cloud-native SaaS model, bolstered by DFC™ technology. This approach means you get complete control over your keys, along with the efficiency, scalability and cost benefits of a SaaS solution. It’s about rapid deployment without the heavy maintenance load.

Deploying HashiCorp Vault Managed and Self-Deployed Options versus Akeyless SaaS Secrets Management

HashiCorp Vault presents two primary deployment options: a self-deployed Enterprise version and the HashiCorp Cloud Platform (HCP) Vault, which operates as a managed service. While the HCP Vault offers a semblance of SaaS convenience, it’s crucial to understand that it is not a true SaaS. 

What is “Managed” Secrets Management?

Essentially, via the HashiCorp Cloud Platform, HashiCorp is managing the platform on behalf of the customer with HCP Vault, which comes with certain limitations. These can include complicated architecture with a high cost for the multiple clusters that must be supported, complex scaling, restricted customization and lesser integration flexibility, as the control over the underlying infrastructure and software configuration remains with the service provider. This arrangement can hinder an organization’s ability to tailor the system to its specific operational needs. In addition, HCP gives HashiCorp complete control over an organization’s secrets, a situation that is not acceptable to the variety of larger enterprises.

What is Self-Deployed Secrets Management?

HashiCorp Vault’s self-deployed Enterprise version requires organizations to install, configure, and manage the Vault on their own infrastructure. While this offers customization and control, it also brings a significant operational load, demanding dedicated resources for maintenance and updates. Typically, a medium-to-large organization using HashiCorp Vault Enterprise will require a dedicated engineer to support the Vault deployment and ensure high availability.

What is SaaS Secrets Management?

Contrastingly, Akeyless adopts a genuine cloud-native SaaS approach combined with DFC™ technology. This model ensures rapid deployment, ease of maintenance and instant scaling while still giving organizations full control over their secrets via the unique Akeyless architecture. This provides organizations with the security of self-deployed Vaults without the hassle or expense of maintaining them.  The Akeyless SaaS model markedly reduces the time required to realize its value and diminishes the overall cost of ownership compared to traditional vault systems.

DFC™ + SaaS: Security with SaaS Ease of Use

Our patented technology performs cryptographic operations using fragments of an encryption key that reside across different regions and cloud providers. These fragments are created as such, and never combined, not even during the encryption/decryption process. Additionally, one of the fragments is created on your side, which only you have access to. This ensures you maintain exclusive ownership while Akeyless has Zero Knowledge of your Keys.

Akeyless DFC adds an additional security layer by having the key fragments constantly refreshing their mathematical values. These values dynamically change without breaking their overall sum. To compromise the key, an attacker would need to penetrate all the locations that hold the different fragments at the exact same time.

Cost-Effectiveness: Akeyless’ SaaS Advantage

Akeyless stands out for its lower operational costs. Real-world cases like Progress and Cimpress have seen a drastic reduction in expenses. Cimpress, for example, reported a 70% cut in costs after shifting to Akeyless from HashiCorp Vault. These savings come from eliminating hardware, maintenance, and engineering costs typical in self-hosted solutions.

Ease of Use and Adoption

Akeyless isn’t just about cutting costs. Its user-friendly interface and streamlined operational processes have contributed to significant increases in platform adoption, with companies like Cimpress reporting up to a 270% surge. This reflects Akeyless’s seamless integration with modern DevOps workflows.

In summary, Akeyless’s SaaS model shines in security, cost-efficiency and ease of use, making it a compelling choice for organizations looking to streamline their secrets management with minimal overhead.

Let’s dive into some of the features. 
Secret Rotation and Dynamic Secrets

HashiCorp Vault:

  • Offers some automated secret rotation for various types.
  • Provides dynamic secrets, generating temporary credentials as needed, forming a core part of its security approach.

Akeyless Vaultless Secrets Management:

  • Automates secret rotation, minimizing manual intervention, and extends this capability across a broader range of platforms than HashiCorp Vault, including diverse environments beyond what HashiCorp Vault Enterprise and HCP Vault cover.
  • Enhances dynamic secrets by adding capabilities such as custom targets, RDP, Docker Hub, and Ping Client, supporting a wider array of platforms, especially critical for legacy and on-prem environments.

Authentication Methods and Compliance

Both Platforms:

  • Offer a variety of authentication methods, with Akeyless extending its offerings to include Kubernetes Auth, SAML 2.0, API Key authentication. This ensures seamless integration into diverse environments and caters to modern multi-factor authentication strategies.
  • Feature comprehensive audit logs, a fundamental aspect of both platforms, crucial for monitoring and compliance.

Akeyless Vaultless Secrets Management:

  • Provides the added flexibility of customizable log retention periods, allowing organizations to tailor their compliance strategies to specific regulatory needs, beneficial for CISOs managing compliance across different jurisdictions.
  • Aligns with major regulatory standards, including GDPR, HIPAA, and FIPS 140-2 compliance, underscoring its commitment to security.

Integration Capabilities

Akeyless Vaultless Secrets Management:

  • Its cloud-native design is tailored for hybrid and multi-cloud environments, enabling effortless synchronization with today’s widely used cloud services and on-site systems.
  • The Akeyless Gateway facilitates secure and efficient communication between different environments and the platform.
  • Universal Identity feature allows seamless identity management across various platforms, optimizing operational agility and scalability and enabling secret rotation and ephemeral secrets for bare metal and legacy systems.

Customer Support,  Ensuring Operational Security

The strength of a platform’s customer service cannot be overstated. Akeyless stands out for its superior customer service including dedicated slack channels, which is crucial for swiftly resolving issues and maintaining secure, operational systems. 

Conclusion: HashiCorp Vault vs. Akeyless SaaS Secrets Management – the better choice is Akeyless.

In conclusion, while both HashiCorp Vault and Akeyless provide competent secrets management solutions, Akeyless distinguishes itself as the more advantageous option for modern enterprises. 

This superiority stems from its blend of ease-of-use, advanced security features, and lower TCO. The platform’s swift onboarding process and groundbreaking SaaS mode + Distributed Fragments Cryptography™ (DFC) technology, ensures a high level of security that offers self-deployed security with the benefits of SaaS. 

Discover how Akeyless can revolutionize your approach to secrets management. Start managing your secrets, not your vaults. Schedule a demo today!


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