Encryption Key Management Software

Encryption Key Management Software Overview

What is Encryption Key Management Software?

Encryption Key Management (EKM) software handles the storage, management, and administration of encryption keys. Encryption keys are the mechanisms that other systems and applications use to encrypt or decrypt data. While encryption keys in some form are present and necessary for every form of encryption, standalone encryption key management systems only become necessary when multiple encryption systems must be centrally managed simultaneously. These systems allow IT and security administrators to distribute and manage logical or physical access to encryption keys, and they often let businesses host their own encryption keys to mitigate risk from 3rd party vendors.

Encryption keys are essential to any encryption process a business uses. There are different types of encryption keys to encrypt different types of data, but EKM software should be able to manage any kind of encryption key. Flexible encryption key management is especially crucial when businesses use a mix of on-premise, virtual, and cloud systems that each need to utilize encryption or decryption keys. This leads EKM products to be most commonly used by enterprises that have a range of systems and data storehouses, especially those concerned with securing proprietary data or complying with regulatory requirements.

There are other features that make a complete encryption key management solution. For instance, encryption key management software should also include backup functionality to prevent key loss. These products should also allow administrators to encrypt the encryption keys themselves for additional layers of security.

Encryption key management enables large organizations and enterprises to scale their encryption capabilities over time. Enterprise-wide policies help ensure proper encryption key storage and protection. Key management and security also serves as the linchpin for all other encryption systems and tools within an organization. Scalable encryption key management also improves key lifecycle management, which prevents unauthorized access or key loss, which can leave data vulnerable or inaccessible respectively.

EKM and Hardware Security Modules (HSM)

Encryption key management benefits dramatically from using a hardware security module (HSM). HSMs are physical devices built to be security-oriented from the ground up, and are used to prevent physical or remote tampering with encryption keys by ensuring on-premise hosted encryption management. By being a separate device, an HSM remains isolated from other systems that would otherwise expose the encryption keys to other potential vulnerabilities and exploits.

Encryption key management software can be hosted on non-dedicated or cloud-based systems, and it may be necessary for some orgs to do so. However, HSMs will provide the highest level of encryption key security that organizations can retain direct control over. Hosted EKM products will likely have HSMs on the vendor site, but self-hosting organizations should consider utilizing an HSM as well.

Encryption Key Management Comparison

When comparing encryption key management systems, consider these factors:

  • Deployment: Does the organization want to keep all encryption key management on-premise, in which case an HSM deployment would be essential. For organizations who aren’t worried about first-party control, a cloud-based offering may be more scalable.

  • Scalability: How well can each system manage the organization’s current, and future, growth of encryption processes and keys? Consider both the ease of management at scale, as well as each vendor’s pricing structure. Some products’ pricing models may become more or less competitive at scale.

  • IAM Integration: Will each product easily or natively integrate with the organization’s identity management system? This is crucial to automating user permissions to access certain encryption keys without overprovisioning access.

Start an encryption key management system comparison here

Pricing Information

There are two main pricing models encryption key management providers offer. Some vendors offer pricing per key, which can start at $1/month/key for some vendors. This model is most popular for all-digital key management. Other vendors that offer hardware to help manage encryption keys will offer different tiers based on the hardware and key volume.

Encryption Key Management Products

(1-25 of 39) Sorted by Most Reviews

HashiCorp Vault

HashiCorp offers Vault, an encryption tool of use in the management of secrets including credentials, passwords and other secrets, providing access control, audit trail, and support for multiple authentication methods. It is available open source, or under an enterprise license.


Virtru in Washington DC offers email encryption software and persistent data security, privacy and loss prevention.


Venafi, headquartered in Salt Lake City, protects machine identity types by orchestrating cryptographic keys and digital certificates for SSL/TLS, code signing, mobile and SSH.

Google Cloud Key Management

Google Cloud Key Management allows users to manage encryption keys on Google Cloud.

AppViewX CERT+

The AppViewX CERT+ product enables the Certificate Lifecycle Automation solution on the vendor's AppViewX Platform. CERT+ aims to help enterprise IT manage and automate the entire lifecycle of their internal and external PKI. CERT+ provides extensive visibility into the multi-vendor…

Zettaset XCrypt

Zettaset's software-based data encryption solutions are designed to protect petabyte-scale hybrid cloud and hyper-converged infrastructure deployments. Zettaset’s encryption solutions are compatible with Object, SQL, NoSQL, and Hadoop data stores.

Digital.ai Application Protection (formerly Arxan)

Digital.ai Application Protection (formerly Arxan) shield apps from reverse engineering, tampering, API exploits and other attacks that can put a business, its customers and the bottom line at risk. The solution includes the App Aware threat monitoring and application vulnerability…

IBM Security Guardium Key Lifecycle Manager

IBM Security Guardium Key Lifecycle Manager centralizes, simplifies and automates the encryption key management process to help protect encrypted data and simplify encryption key management. It offers key storage, key serving and key lifecycle management for self-encrypting applications…

Unbound Key Control

Unbound Key Control (UKC) is a unified key manager and virtual HSM which provides full key lifecycle management across on-premise data centers and multiple cloud environments. This pure-software solution manages all keys from all on-premises or cloud workloads and from any cloud…

Unbound Crypto-of-Things

Unbound CoT eliminates the single point of compromise by ensuring that sensitive keys that reside on untrusted and insecure devices never exist in the clear at any point in their lifecycle – not even when generated or while in use. With Unbound CoT, key material is never whole. Rather,…

Unbound Crypto Asset Security Platform

A FIPS 140 L2 certified software solution that eliminates this single point of failure of public key cryptography by giving users a secure, distributed way to sign transactions, while managing digital assets. Unbound CASP is designed so that institutional investors no longer…

Alibaba Cloud Key Management Service

Alibaba Cloud Key Management Service (KMS) provides key management and cryptography services to help encrypt and protect sensitive data assets. KMS is integrated with a wide range of Alibaba Cloud services to allow users to encrypt data across the cloud and to control its distributed…

ManageEngine Key Manager Plus

ManageEngine Key Manager Plus is a web-based key management solution that helps users consolidate, control, manage, monitor, and audit the entire life cycle of SSH (Secure Shell) keys and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates. It provides visibility into the SSH and SSL environments…

CipherTrust Manager (formerly Next Generation KeySecure)

CipherTrust Manager (formerly known as Next Generation KeySecure) offers enterprise key management solution enabling organizations to centrally manage encryption keys, provide granular access control and configure security policies. CipherTrust Manager is the central management point…


GnuPG is a free implementation of the OpenPGP standard as defined by RFC4880 (also known as PGP). GnuPG allows users to encrypt and sign data and communications; it features a key management system, along with access modules for all kinds of public key directories.


Lockr is presented as a simple-to-use plugin for WordPress or Drupal to manage a site’s API and Encryption keys in a secure offsite hosted environment. Lockr removes the key from site code and database and stores it in a secure and certified key manager. Then when a site needs the…

Prime Factors EncryptRIGHT

Prime Factors headquartered in Eugene offers EncryptRIGHT, which includes a comprehensive, centralized encryption key management system for orchestrating all of the cryptographic keys related to data protection, including the ability to generate, exchange, distribute, store, rotate,…

Trustway DataProtect KMS

Trustway DataProtect KMS is a data protection solution with a centralized key management platform enhanced with data access control and monitoring features, from Atos. Trustway DataProtect KMS with its various standardized interface allows users to manage keys and provides encryption…

HyTrust DataControl

HyTrust DataControl secures multi-cloud workloads throughout their lifecycle. Manage workloads and encryption keys from a central location to reduce complexity, and help comply with regulations such as the GDPR. The vendor states DataControl works with leading local and public cloud…

Cogito Jellyfish

Australian company Cogito Group offers the Jellyfish integrated access control based CASB, credential management / PKI solution, and digital identity solution.

Akeyless Vault

Akeyless Vault is a Secrets & Keys Management-as-a-Service solution from the company of the same name in Tel Aviv, made to protect the Hybrid and Multi-Cloud environments.

Tencent Cloud Key Management Service (KMS)

Tencent Cloud Key Management Service (KMS) is a security management solution that lets users create and manage keys and protect their confidentiality, integrity, and availability, helping meet key management and compliance needs in multi-application and multi-business scenarios.

TOPKI – Certificate management & distribution platform

Secardeo TOPKI (Trusted Open PKI) is a PKI system platform for automated key distribution of X.509 certificates and private keys to all users and devices where they are required. For this, TOPKI provides components that serve for specific certificate lifecycle management tasks.…

Ubiq Security, Inc.

The Ubiq platform is an API-based developer platform that enables developers to build customer-side data encryption into any application, across multiple programming languages, without requiring prior encryption knowledge or expertise. And as new cryptography and encryption innovations…

SSH.COM Universal SSH Key Manager

SSH Keys, just like passwords, provide direct access to privileged accounts on critical infrastructure. To keepcredentials are properly governed according to compliance standards and security policies, SSH Communications Security in Helsinki offers the Universal SSH Key Manager.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the functions of key management?

Key management ensures that encryption keys’ lifecycles are properly managed, and centrally controls what users and systems have access to the necessary encryption keys.

Why is key management required?

Key management is crucial to ensure that encryption keys are not compromised, such as being left in unsecured systems or exposed to hackers.

What is the key management life cycle?

Encryption keys only remain secure for so long, and as time goes on they are more likely to be compromised or lost. Lifecycle management gauges the length of time when a given key is still usable, and automatically decommissions the key as it creates a new one to replace it, ensuring that keys remain fresh and secure.