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HSM-as-a-Service Use Cases, Considerations, and Best Practices
HSM-as-a-Service Use Cases, Considerations, and Best Practices
Who it's for:
  • Cloud service customers
  • Cloud service providers 
  • HSM manufacturers 
  • Key management solution providers 
  • Application developers
  • Auditors

HSM-as-a-Service Use Cases, Considerations, and Best Practices

Release Date: 04/03/2024

Working Group: Cloud Key Management

A Hardware Security Module (HSM) is a certified, trusted platform for performing cryptographic operations and protecting keys. It is a tamper-responsive and intrusion-resistant device comprising a security cryptographic accelerator, hardware-based random number generator,  processor, RAM, storage, and external interface. HSMs are often considered the root of trust, as the cryptographic keys created and protected by an HSM are used to underpin the security of an organization’s infrastructure.

This document describes the Hardware Security Module as a Service (HSMaaS) cloud delivery model for key management and cryptographic operations. Additionally, it explores a sample of use cases with unique drivers justifying this model, discusses logical and physical security considerations, and provides recommendations on how to demonstrate compliance and select a vendor. 

Cloud service customers that require increased control over key management operations, providers that supply the technology or services to deliver HSMaaS, as well as auditors and Conformity Assessment Bodies, can all benefit from the knowledge in this comprehensive guide.

Key Takeaways: 
  • The definition and architecture of an HSM
  • The current and future state of the HSMaaS market
  • Industry, compliance, and risk use cases for the HSMaaS model
  • The importance of clearly defined responsibilities in the HSMaaS model
  • Security considerations for HSMs
  • Key management considerations unique to HSMaaS
  • Important considerations when setting up governance for HSMs
  • HSM vendor selection best practices
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Acknowledgements

Sam Pfanstiel Ph.D.
Sam Pfanstiel Ph.D.
Principal in Industry Solutions at Coalfire

Sam Pfanstiel Ph.D.

Principal in Industry Solutions at Coalfire

As Principal in the Industry Solutions team at Coalfire, Sam is responsible for providing advisory and assessment services for P2PE, PIN, and 3DS solutions and components; performing SSF application security assessments; and identifying the security and compliance impacts of innovative payment technologies for merchants and providers. Sam has been a key member of the Coalfire payments team for five years, bringing a quarter-century of exper...

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Sunil Arora
Sunil Arora
Associate Director Security Architecture

Sunil Arora

Associate Director Security Architecture

Sunil Arora is a cybersecurity expert with over 16 years of experience in financial institutions, healthcare, telecom, and technology services industries. He is a passionate cybersecurity advocate and an expert on cloud security, information security advising, secure design and architecture, and risk management. In addition, Sunil is an influencer and enabler for technology and business teams to make informed, effective information security...

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Iain Beveridge
Iain Beveridge
Senior Product Marketing Manager

Iain Beveridge

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Santosh Bompally Headshot Missing
Santosh Bompally

Santosh Bompally

Marina Bregkou
Marina Bregkou
Senior Research Analyst, CSA EMEA

Marina Bregkou

Senior Research Analyst, CSA EMEA

Parthasarathi Chakraborty
Parthasarathi Chakraborty
Associate VP, Cloud Security, Cyber Innovation and R&D

Parthasarathi Chakraborty

Associate VP, Cloud Security, Cyber Innovation and R&D

Partha has over 20 years of cyber security leadership experience in the financial services and healthcare industry. An active speaker and panelist in major cyber security conferences around the world, and frequently called in for views and interviews in electronic media like The Economist, UK. Very much passionate about learning new technologies and writing on recent groundbreaking cyber trends. He is also the founder of Cloud Security Pra...

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Rajat Dubey
Rajat Dubey
Cybersecurity Expert, Allianz Commercial

Rajat Dubey

Cybersecurity Expert, Allianz Commercial

Rajat is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with over 13 years of experience safeguarding critical systems and data for global enterprises. His expertise spans cyber risk assessment, compliance, threat modeling, incident response, Penetration testing, Ethical hacking, Digital Forensic, Cloud Security and emerging technologies (AI, Blockchain, IoT, Quantum computing) for enhanced security.

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Parth Jamodkar Headshot Missing
Parth Jamodkar

Parth Jamodkar

Carlos Rombaldo Jr. Headshot Missing
Carlos Rombaldo Jr.

Carlos Rombaldo Jr.

Michael Roza
Michael Roza
Risk, Control and Compliance Professional at EVC

Michael Roza

Risk, Control and Compliance Professional at EVC

Since 2012 Michael has contributed to over 100 CSA projects completed by CSA's Internet of Things, Zero Trust/Software-Defined Perimeter, Top Threats, Cloud Control Matrix, Containers/Microservices, DevSecOps, and other working groups. He has also served as co-chair of CSA's Enterprise Architecture, Top Threats, and Security-as-a-Service working groups while also serving as the Standards Liaison Officer for IoT, ICS, EA, SECaaS, and Cloud K...

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Thanos Vrachnos
Thanos Vrachnos
Cyber Security Consultant at SpearIT

Thanos Vrachnos

Cyber Security Consultant at SpearIT

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Amanda Gabiam

Amanda Gabiam

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Simon Keates

Simon Keates

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Bruno Kovacs

Bruno Kovacs

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Smita Mahapatra

Smita Mahapatra

Tim Winston Headshot Missing
Tim Winston

Tim Winston

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