Files uploaded to Egnyte are encrypted with keys that are unique to each customer. By default, Egnyte manages this encryption key and follows best practices to secure, store, and manage these keys for our customers. However, some customers want a higher level of control where they can manage, rotate, and store their encryption keys themselves.

Only customers on the Enterprise Plan can use Enterprise Key Management.

Egnyte Key Management SM (EKM) is an option that allows customers to manage encryption keys themselves, either using a 3rd-party cloud service or their own on-premises infrastructure. External key management systems typically utilize HSM (Hardware Security Modules) for secure management, storage, and rotation of encryption keys. Egnyte currently integrates with the following external key management systems:

  • Microsoft Azure Key Vault
  • Amazon (AWS) Key Management Service (KMS)

Managing your keys can provide an additional layer of security and privacy, but with these benefits also come responsibilities:

  • If you lose your encryption keys, you will not be able to decrypt any data encrypted with those lost keys
  • If your cloud or on-premises key management provider is unavailable, you will not be able to decrypt your data until the provider is back again

Before configuring your Egnyte account with an external key management solution, you should work with your key management provider to ensure that you are following best practices for protecting your keys.

If you configure a key to be managed externally, you'll need to be extremely cautious when changing settings or when disabling the key. Accidentally deleting the key or making it unavailable for your Egnyte domain can make it impossible to regain access to your Egnyte data.

EKM is only available for Enterprise plans and can be enabled in the Security & Authentication settings. If you're interested in this feature and don't have an Enterprise plan, reach out to your Customer Development Manager (Account Manager) for assistance.

How it Works

When configured to use an external key management system, Egnyte employs hierarchical key management — so Egnyte’s encryption key will be encrypted with the external key you manage. This additional layer of protection ensures that no one can access your data unless they have access to both the Egnyte key and the external key.

Egnyte creates a unique encryption key (the “Egnyte key”) for every customer. If you use EKM, you’ll need to get a separate encryption key from your external key management system (the “external key”) as well.

Once you configure Egnyte Key Management in the Web UI, the Egnyte key will be encrypted with the external key and stored on your key management provider cloud or your on-premises HSM. Anytime you upload or download a file, Egnyte will request the external key from your key management system and use it to decrypt the Egnyte key. This decrypted Egnyte key is then used to encrypt or decrypt the specific file.

The Egnyte key is never stored as such — this key will only be stored in its encrypted format using the external key.

Monitoring

Egnyte has several safeguards in place to help you monitor the use of EKM in your account. Once configured, you’ll see a status field in the EKM section of your account that indicates whether your key is available.

If Egnyte is unable to retrieve the external key on any upload or download (e.g., if your key management service is unavailable), that operation will fail. In this scenario, your users will see an error indicating that Egnyte was unable to access your external key.

If this happens, we will also send an email immediately to notify the Egnyte account Admins. Once access to the key is restored, we will send another email to notify them that the issue has been resolved.

Additional Resources