Hardware Security Modules: Where Businesses Puts Its trustProducts like AEP Systems SureWare Keyper demonstrate the important role Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) play in assuring trust in the electronically enabled business world. It is not an overstatement to say that HSMs are where businesses today put their trust. That's because HSMs are the cornerstone technology of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) — the leading method of providing the four key elements of trust in any transaction: authenticity, confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation. Because of their importance, every system and security administrator needs to understand what HSMs do, and why certain attributes of these modules are critically important. For example, the fact that security functions are performed in hardware instead of software means that key materials can be better protected — both from physical attacks and network attacks — than if they were running inside a general-purpose server. Another advantage of hardware is that it can be specifically optimised to perform security functions much faster and more effectively than its software counterpart. This paper explains how PKIs provide trust, how HSMs support PKIs, and how an organisation can know if it can trust a particular HSM.
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