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Cloud Secrets Management

What Is Cloud Secrets Management?

Cloud secrets management refers to cloud-based methods and tools that organizations use to secure and manage their digital credentials like signatures and keys. Accessibility and authorization are at the forefront of cloud secrets management, and each cloud-based platform will have its interpretation of secrets management services. While services are similar and lead to similar outcomes, different cloud providers will offer slightly different tools for usage.

Without cloud-based secrets management and a skilled DevOps team, your keys and secrets are accessible to all, even bad actors. Cloud-based secrets can be among some of the following:

  • APIs
  • Passwords
  • SSH keys
  • Tokens
  • Encryption keys
  • Private certificates

Cloud secrets management platforms keep their businesses safe with proper secrets management. A way to make the work easier, but just as if not more effective, is to use DevOps management tools tailored to your cloud provider.

Why do you need a cloud secrets manager or even a management strategy? Well, Sensitive business resources need protection, especially when accessible globally like cloud-based resources are. You will want to prevent data leakage and hackers from gaining access to data whenever possible.

What Are The Top Three Challenges of Cloud Secrets Management?

Managing the cloud is more difficult than a local physical server. You are entrusting your data and secrets to a third-party company and, for the most part, receiving a cookie-cutter solution in return that you do not fully control. You can alleviate any worries about this situation by only choosing cloud-service providers regarded well, like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. You can also ensure the creation and maintenance of strong secrets management within the cloud framework.

Here are three popular ways to keep your cloud secrets management solutions safe from prying eyes.

  1. Limit decentralization. Err on the side of caution and use as few third-party software providers as possible. Use all-in-one cloud solutions like AWS for premium results.
  2. Avoid management silos. Managers should be accessible by coworkers and bosses in multiple departments, not just their own. If there is a data breach in marketing, quality assurance has to be informed as well. Being aware of company-wide data privacy and security concerns will help managers manage their cloud secrets better.
  3. Remote access. Limit the amount of access to cloud secrets that employees have when off-premises. If an employee requires access to secrets, have a management solution in place, like work-specific devices, activity monitoring, mandated VPN use, login credentials, zero trust access, and more.

Is it possible to create a well-managed centralized secrets management solution, especially when using third-party software and allowing employees to work remotely? Yes. Here is how.

Cloud Secrets Management Best Practices You Need to Know

Automated cloud secrets management is a means to avoid human error and inefficiency. Regardless of your cloud-based secrets needs, you should follow best practices wherever possible to ensure a high privacy and security standard for your company. 

Here are some best practices to follow to ensure a high standard.

  • Strict password policies. Users will need to create complex but easy-to-remember passwords. Users should also change their passwords after every potential breach, as well as at regular time intervals, like 60 days. Passwords should include numbers, letters, symbols, and a minimum length requirement.
  • Limited decentralized management. While cloud service platforms like Google Cloud and AWS require a bit of decentralization, your business structure should be as centralized as possible to ensure your employees communicate and collaborate. Security and privacy are a team effort, and every employee, from the CEO to the receptionist, needs to be involved and communicate when necessary.
  • Monitor employee behavior at work. Secrets management is only as secure as an employee allows it to be. If a user writes down his or her password on a sticky note or instant messages it to a coworker, that password is no longer secure. Train and expect employees to have strict standards regarding secrets management and hold them accountable when possible. 
  • Provide employee training. Employee training will allow employees to be up-to-date on the latest and greatest cybersecurity threats related to your business. Training will allow your employees to practice safe secrets management and ask questions when necessary.