Hardware security modules (HSMs) are hardened, tamper-resistant hardware devices that secure cryptographic processes by generating, protecting, and managing keys used for encrypting and decrypting data and creating digital signatures and certificates.
Encryption is made possible through the use of encryption keys—randomly generated values that must be kept secret in order to protect the encrypted data. Because knowledge of the encryption key aids in decrypting information, it is vital that these keys are secured in a private environment.
HSMs are considered the Root of Trust (RoT) in many organizations. The Root of Trust is a source in a cryptographic system that can be relied upon at all times. The strict security measures used within an HSM allow it to be the perfect Root of Trust in any organization’s security infrastructure.
RoT is a critical component of public-key infrastructures (PKIs) to generate and protect root and certificate authority (CA) keys; code signing to ensure software remains secure, unaltered and authentic; and creating digital certificates and machine identities for credentialing and authenticating proprietary electronic devices such as smart cards or USB secure tokens for IoT applications and other network deployments.
HSMs are typically tested, validated and certified to the highest security standards including FIPS 140-2 and Common Criteria.
HSMs enable organizations to:
- Meet and exceed established and emerging regulatory standards for cybersecurity, including GDPR, eIDAS, PCI DSS, HIPAA, etc
- Achieve higher levels of data security and trust
- Maintain high service levels and business agility