What is Microsoft Azure Key Vault?
Imagine a secure cloud-based service where you can store all your confidential information. That’s exactly what Microsoft Azure Key Vault offers. This service allows users to securely store and access passwords, TLS/SSL certificates, API keys, cryptographic keys, and other sensitive data that needs restricted access.
- Vaults: Microsoft Azure Key Vault provides the capability to store software, HSM-backed keys, secrets, and certificates securely.
- Managed HSM Pools: This container supports only HSM-backed keys, ensuring maximum security for your sensitive information.
How does Microsoft Azure Key Vault work?
- Vault Owner: As the vault owner, you have full control over the vault and access to the Azure Key Vault.
- Vault Consumer: Depending on the access granted, you can give vault consumers the ability to perform various tasks. You can trust them because as the vault owner, you have access to the audit log and can monitor their activity.
- Secrets: This can be a password or a certificate. Consumers with the right permissions can read and store these values. The information is securely stored in an HSM as a Key-Value pair.
- Keys: Consumers can utilize keys for specific operations like signing, encrypting, decrypting, verifying, etc. The value of the keys cannot be read directly by consumers, as Key Vault handles all these operations for added security. There are two key formats:
- Software Keys: These are less secure and less expensive. They are suitable for development and testing scenarios, and Azure VMs handle them.
- HSM Keys: These keys operate directly on the Hardware Security Module (HSM) and offer higher security. However, they are more expensive and require a Premier-tier vault.
- Authentication: Microsoft Azure Key Vault benefits from integrated Azure Active Directory (AAD), providing robust authentication and authorization functions.
Note: If you have an Azure subscription and administrative rights, you can sign in to Microsoft Azure to create vaults and securely store confidential information. Each account will have a unique account ID.
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