Key management

To address the often mentioned concern of tenant data privacy and limiting cloud provider liability, there is greater interest within the OpenStack community to make data encryption more ubiquitous. It is relatively easy for an end-user to encrypt their data prior to saving it to the cloud, and this is a viable path for tenant objects such as media files, database archives among others. In some instances, client-side encryption is utilized to encrypt data held by the virtualization technologies which requires client interaction, such as presenting keys, to decrypt data for future use. To seamlessly secure the data and have it accessible without burdening the client with having to manage their keys and interactively provide them calls for a key management service within OpenStack. Providing encryption and key management services as part of OpenStack eases data-at-rest security adoption and addresses customer concerns about privacy or misuse of data, while also limiting cloud provider liability. This can help reduce a provider’s liability when handling tenant data during an incident investigation in multi-tenant public clouds.

The volume encryption and ephemeral disk encryption features rely on a key management service (for example, barbican) for the creation and secure storage of keys. The key manager is pluggable to facilitate deployments that need a third-party Hardware Security Module (HSM) or the use of the Key Management Interchange Protocol (KMIP), which is supported by an open-source project called PyKMIP.