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An Overview of OpenStack Barbican for Secure Key Management

Mohammed NaserMohammed Naser

A key management service like OpenStack Barbican is used in providing seamless data security and reducing client-burden. Read more.

You can't talk about open source cloud-based key management without mentioning OpenStack Barbican.

Data security and encryption are always priorities for cloud users. At VEXXHOST, many of our clients have asked and keep asking about tools that will help them secure their data and enable safe access to authorized users. We believe that key management plays a big part in it.

The Need for Key Management

It is generally an easy task for the end-user to encrypt data before saving it into the cloud. For tenant objects such as database archives and media files, this kind of encryption is a viable option. A key management service is used in some instances, such as presenting keys to encrypt and decrypt data, providing seamless security and accessibility to the data, and not burden the clients with managing all the keys. Barbican is a tool that enables the creation and secure storage of such keys.

Basics of OpenStack Barbican

In simple terms, OpenStack Barbican is an open source Key Management service that provides safe storage, provisioning, and management of sensitive or secret data. This data could be of various content types - anything from symmetric or asymmetric keys, certificates, or raw binary data.

With Barbican, users can secure their data seamlessly and maintain its accessibility without personally managing their keys. Barbican also addresses concerns about privacy or misuse of data among users.

Benefits of Key Management with Barbican

As mentioned above, users can utilize OpenStack Barbican for safe and secure storage, provisioning, and management of sensitive data. Barbican boasts of a plug-in based architecture that allows users to store their data in multiple secret stores. These stores can be software-based, like a software token, or hardware-device-based, like a Hardware Security Module (HSM). The tool allows users to securely store and manage anything from passwords to encryption keys to X.509 certificates.

Another advantage of OpenStack Barbican is its ability to integrate seamlessly with all other enterprise-grade cloud services from OpenStack. With a simplified integration with block storage, the key management service stores keys for encrypted volumes. With object storage, Barbican enables encryption of data at rest. Similarly, seamless integration happens with Keystone, providing identity authentication and complete role-based access control. With OpenStack's image storage, the integration allows users to verify signed images, to check whether an uploaded image is altered or not.

VEXXHOST and OpenStack Barbican

Among other OpenStack-based services, VEXXHOST offers Barbican as our open source solution for key management. Barbican works in tandem with other OpenStack projects in creating highly secure private cloud environments for our customers. Contact our team regarding any queries you might have on key management or to know how VEXXHOST can help build your OpenStack cloud. Check out our dedicated resource page to improve your knowledge of private clouds.

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