Now that you have a better understanding of what exactly a hardware security module is, you might be wondering whether or not an HSM makes sense for your enterprise. The answer is almost certainly yes.
In today’s competitive landscape, virtually every company has a significant digital presence, consisting of everything from websites and social media to servers, mobile apps, and more. Underneath the enterprise’s digital environment are the cryptographic keys that keep that environment secure. Cryptographic keys are used in far too many use cases to enumerate, but for those looking for a high-level questionnaire, we’ve provided one here.
If the answer to any of the following questions is yes, you should consider using an HSM:
Do you use TLS to protect your servers (e.g. your website over HTTPS)?
Do you have servers that you access via SSH?
Do you have a corporate VPN?
Do you use or are planning to move to a zero-trust environment?
Do you digitally sign documents?
Do you sign code (e.g. mobile apps, desktop apps, etc.)?
Do you sign or encrypt emails?
Do you sign or encrypt backup files?
Do you encrypt data in your databases?
Do you process or store sensitive data (e.g. PCI, PII, HIPAA, GDPR, classified, etc.)?
Do you manage or make use of a PKI?
Chances are that your enterprise is actively utilizing a number of these cryptographic key use cases. If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions and you’re not already using an HSM to secure private key material, you should consider investing in one soon.