Encryption key management for SSL is the process of successfully securing and managing the private key. The private key is the tool that is used to decrypt the information that is received from anyone who has access to the public key. For example if an end-user purchases an item from amazon.com their browser would encrypt the personal information (credit card, address etc.) using the Amazon’s public key, and once that information is received by the Amazon server it would be decrypted by their private key. Because of the unique feature of the private key essentially the most important aspect of SSL and therefore should be securely stored and managed. Below I have discussed a few ways to success store and manage a private key.
First there are generally two places that a hacker would be able to access the private key, on the server that is using the certificate or any other place that the private key file is saved. It is important to obviously create a very strong username and password for the server but to also limit the amount of employees that can log-in/ the employees that can log-in should also have unique access and passwords. Second make sure that you enable a CAPTCHA and/or Time-Out feature to limit a brute-force attack. Finally for companies that have hired third parties to manage and run their sites you should always check to make sure that they have the appropriate accreditations (ISO).
After you have secured your server make sure that the back-up private key is also securely stored. Do not store the back up on the same server that is using the private key because occasionally servers have been known to crash. I would also recommend not storing the back-up on a cloud (personal reasons). I would recommend password protecting (encrypting) the file and storing it either on your VPN, an encrypted flash drive, or other place that can only be accessed by your company.
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