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Hardware Security Module, Choose the Best


Hardware security module (HSM) usage grew at a record rate from 41% in 2018 to 47% in 2019, indicating the need for a hardened, tamper-resistant environment with higher levels of trust, integrity and control for data and applications, said the Ponemon Institute’s 2019 Global Encryption Trends Study report.

Research shows that the use of HSM is no longer limited to traditional use cases such as public key infrastructure (PKI), databases, application and network encryption (TLS/SSL).

Demand for reliable encryption for new digital initiatives drove significant HSM growth in 2018 for code signing (up 13%), big data encryption (up 12%), IoT security (up 10%) and document signing (up 8%).

In addition, 53% of respondents reported using on-premises HSMs to secure access to public cloud applications.

Strengthen your company’s IT security with encryption

The use of encryption is a clear indicator of a strong security posture adopted by companies that deploy encryption and that are more aware of threats to sensitive and confidential information and making a greater investment in IT security.

The adoption of encryption is also being driven by the need to protect sensitive information from internal and external threats, as well as accidental disclosure due to compliance requirements such as the General Data Protection Act (GDPR).

But data sprawl, concerns about data discovery and policy enforcement, along with a lack of cybersecurity skills make this a challenging environment.

This is when HSM becomes part of your safety and security strategy.

Do you need a hardware security module to protect your information?

A hardware security module (HSM) is a physical device that provides extra security for sensitive data. This type of device is used to provide cryptographic keys for critical functions such as encryption, decryption and authentication for the use of applications, identities and databases.

To give an idea, companies can use a hardware security module, for example, to protect trade secrets of significant value by ensuring that only authorized individuals can access the HSM to complete an encryption key transaction, i.e. control access properly and if necessary with multiple authentication factors, which is a security recommendation adopted today.

In addition, the entire life cycle of the encryption key, from creation, revocation and management and storage in the HSM.

Digital signatures can also be managed through an HSM and all access transactions are logged to create an audit trail. In this way, a hardware security module can help companies move sensitive information and processes from paper documentation to a digital format.

Multiple HSMs can be used together to provide public key management without slowing down applications.

But how do you know which hardware security module (HSM) is best for your business needs?

In general, a hardware security module provides cryptographic functionality. There are free downloadable crypto components on the market that do pretty much anything an HSM would do. So why make the investment in an HSM?

Basically, there are three main reasons: Increased security, cryptographic performance, an industry standardized certification and validation program.

If selected carefully and implemented correctly, an HSM provides a considerable increase in safety and security for businesses. It does this in an operational environment where keys are generated, used and stored on what should be a tamper-resistant hardware device.

It is this ability to securely create, store and use cryptographic keys that is the greatest benefit of HSM.

There are many attributes that vendors emphasize to try to make their product appear superior to others. The following attributes are really desirable from a security perspective:

  • The key generator and secure key storage feature;
  • A tool to assist authentication by verifying digital signatures;
  • A tool for securely encrypting sensitive data for storage in a relatively unsecured location such as a database;
  • A tool to verify the integrity of data stored in a database;
  • A secure key generator for smartcard production.

But companies today are under “relentless pressure” to protect their business-critical information and applications and meet regulatory compliance, and adopting functionality that is considered basic does not make a traditional HSM the best choice.

What makes the Thales Luna HSM solution the best hardware security module option for your company’s needs?

Thales Hardware Security Modules provide the highest level of security by always storing cryptographic keys in hardware.

In addition, they provide a secure encryption foundation, as the keys never leave the FIPS-validated, intrusion-resistant, tamper-proof device.

Since all cryptographic operations take place inside the HSM, strong access controls prevent unauthorized users from accessing confidential cryptographic material.

In addition, Thales also implements operations that make deploying secure HSMs as easy as possible, and our HSMs are integrated with the Thales Crypto Command Center for fast and easy partitioning, reporting, and monitoring of cryptographic resources.

Thales’ HSMs follow strict design requirements and must pass rigorous product verification tests, followed by real-world application testing to verify the security and integrity of each device.

Thales’ HSMs are cloud agnostic and are the HSM of choice for Microsoft, AWS and IBM, providing a hardware security module service that dedicates a single tenant device located in the cloud for the customer’s cryptographic processing and storage needs.

With Thales hardware security modules, you can:

  • Address compliance requirements with blockchain solutions, LGPD and Open banking, IoT, innovation initiatives such as Pix of the Central Bank of Brazil and prominent certifications such as the Central Bank of Brazil. PCI DSS, digital signatures, DNSSEC, hardware key storage, transactional acceleration, certificate signing, code or document signing, bulk key generation and data encryption;
  • The keys are generated and always stored in an intrusion-resistant, tamper-proof, FIPS-validated device with the strongest levels of access control;
  • Create partitions with a dedicated Security Office per partition and segregate by administrator key separation;

Therefore, Thales Luna HSMs have been implementing best practices in hardware, software, and operations that make deploying HSMs as easy as possible.

Thales Luna HSMs meet stringent design requirements and must pass rigorous product verification testing, followed by real-world application testing to verify the safety and integrity of each device.

Make the best choice of HSM technology

HSMs are built to protect cryptographic keys. Large banks or corporate offices often operate a variety of HSMs simultaneously.

Key management systems control and update these keys according to internal security policies and external standards.

A centralized key management design has the advantage of streamlining key management and providing the best overview for keys in many different systems.

Learn more about Thales HSM

The encryption keys are literally the key to accessing the organization’s data. They protect an organization’s most sensitive information, so the system that generates and stores it must be protected at all costs.

Thales Luna HSM not only provides the best physical security, it is usually located at the heart of a company’s secure data center, but it also ensures that stored keys are never breached.

Unless you have an environment where a physical data center is not available, adopt an HSM appliance to secure the organization’s encryption keys and leave virtualized services for the rest of your infrastructure, and take comfort in knowing your encrypted connections and data are always secure.

About Eval

EVAL has been developing projects in the financial, health, education and industry segments for over 18 years. Since 2004, we have offered Authentication, Electronic and Digital Signature and Data Protection solutions. Currently, we are present in the main Brazilian banks, health institutions, schools and universities, and different industries.

With value recognized by the market, EVAL’s solutions and services meet the highest regulatory standards of public and private organizations, such as SBIS, ITI, PCI DSS, and LGPD. In practice, we promote information security and compliance, increase companies’ operational efficiency, and reduce costs.

Innovate now, lead always: get to know Eval’s solutions and services and take your company to the next level.

Eval, safety is value.


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