Akeyless: Protecting Machines' Secrets in the Cloud Era

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Oded Hareven, Co-Founder and CEO Shai Onn, Co-Founder and President Secrets management is a mission-critical endeavor for modern-day enterprises that operate in DevOps and hybrid multi-cloud environments. Whether it's passwords, certificates, keys or database credentials, companies depend on secrets to access data by authenticating users and applications and through encryption and decryption processes. Consequently, securing secrets is essential to the overall security of any business.

Moreover, the number of credentials, certificates, keys and passwords that secure applications and processes has increased exponentially due to recent DevOps innovations such as containerization and microservices. Today, these machine secrets, rather than human credentials, represent the greatest security need for global companies.

However, protecting machine secrets has become a major problem for today’s organizations. They are frequently scattered throughout the organization while being vulnerable to leaks, as even a quick glance at recent headlines of massive breaches can confirm. The lack of centralized governance for these secrets is an ongoing risk for company security.

"Companies around the globe are embracing Secrets Management as a significant part of their strategic approach to cybersecurity. Every customer who has fully evaluated Akeyless as an alternative to the competition has ended up selecting Akeyless’ Secrets Orchestration platform."

"Engineers tend to use a variety of tools for storing and managing secrets, including password managers, configuration and Excel files. In many cases, secrets are hardcoded, making them easier for hackers to access from the application code. Even the practice of encrypting secrets and keys is pointless when the 'root-key' is known or easily found," says Oded Hareven, Co- Founder and CEO of Akeyless.

But many development teams are still not aware that keeping secrets secure and accessible is a mission critical part of their application infrastructure. If an organization’s secrets cannot be securely accessed, company-wide outages can and will result. Unfortunately, managing secrets and ensuring their security are often treated with non-enterprise-ready point solutions by DevOps engineers.

Akeyless' Secrets Orchestration SaaS Platform addresses these long-standing problems. The Akeyless platform provides DevOps, SecOps and security teams with centralized oversight and control of all secrets for machines (including applications and automated processes) as well as humans across hybrid multi-cloud environments, while integrating seamlessly with their production environment. And it delivers these capabilities in a manner that allows security leaders to have full confidence that the credentials used to access their organization’s most critical workloads and sensitive data are protected, with a patented KMS (Akeyless DFC™) that ensures that even Akeyless cannot access its customer’s secrets.

Approaches to the Complex Paradigm of Securing Secrets

Recent changes to infrastructure and development processes mean that traditional solutions for addressing the management of secrets frequently fall short. Many solutions were created for on-prem or a single cloud provider, when today’s organizations have processes and data that span on-prem databases and multiple cloud providers and regions. Moreover, the automation and multiple containerized processes typical of today’s DevOps methodology require an automated approach to secrets management and access control that more traditional solutions don’t provide.

Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions, for example, have long addressed the problem of human credentials. However, these solutions are not built for the cloud and have difficulty managing secrets for more ephemeral cloud resources. They usually are not able to provide just-in-time dynamic secrets, for example, for temporary access during automation processes, and are not good at automatically rotating (updating) secrets of different applications, processes and databases.

Recent open source solutions have attacked the secrets problem from the DevOps side.
Developers like working with DIY-style open source solutions, and the DevOps community is good at creating open source integrations with leading DevOps tools. Major problems arise, however, when these open source solutions need to secure secrets for an entire growing enterprise. They cannot provide everything the mission-critical secrets management function needs— no high availability, no disaster recovery, no support. And scaling these solutions to multiple business units and locations is cumbersome and difficult.

There are also cloud service providers (CSPs) that offer their own secrets management solutions. These CSPs, who hold de facto access to their clients' keys, risk exposing them due to the constantly evolving cyber threat landscape and requests from the government for compliance. In addition, the secrets management solutions offered by one CSP often cannot integrate with other CSPs or even external solutions deployed within that cloud provider.

In sum, the modern enterprise needs something different: it needs an all-in-one solution that protects a variety of secrets for both machines and humans within a single platform, supporting hybrid and multi-cloud architectures. Today’s secrets management must be built for enterprise DevOps, allowing teams to manage their own secrets while automating secret access and security, provided via a SaaS platform that eliminates the need for special deployment or maintenance. And of course, this secrets management solution must include a strong security model guaranteed to keep secrets safe.
The Akeyless platform provides all this, ensuring continuous security compliance within a scalable SaaS solution and enabling DevOps teams to quickly and easily manage and access secrets within their existing workflows.

The Secret Sauce: Distributed Fragments Cryptography

The Akeyless platform sits on top of the company's patented FIPS 140- 2 certified Distributed Fragments Cryptography (DFC™) technology, which enables cryptographic operations that work with the "fragments" of an encryption key. The technology stores separate fragments of a cryptographic key in separate locations across different cloud providers. These fragments are created separately and never downloaded or combined, even during the encryption or decryption process.


We are bridging the gap in the market for unified, holistic solutions to protect both machine-to-machine and human-to-machine interactions


One of the key fragments is stored on the client's side and is only accessible to them. This ensures clients maintain exclusive ownership of their secrets while Akeyless has zero knowledge of their keys. Neither Akeyless nor any third parties can decrypt clients' secrets under any circumstances.

"We protect encrypted secrets that even we cannot open," says Hareven.

In this way, the platform ensures Root of Trust in distributed hybrid cloud environments. Additionally, Akeyless DFC imparts an additional security layer by continually changing the values of the key fragments. To gain access to the key, a cybercriminal would need to penetrate all the locations holding the different fragments at the same time, a difficult and unlikely feat.

All-in-One Solution

Akeyless creates, manages, and protects a variety of secrets for both humans and machines in a single platform, offering centralized security, management, and reporting capabilities. Unlike other solutions, Akeyless manages and secures both encryption keys and authentication keys and credentials. Akeyless is able to generate and update certificates, as well as create just-in-time access keys for cloud or on-prem resources. As a secrets orchestration platform, Akeyless provides a unified location for security, management, and monitoring of secrets use, managed from a single web dashboard.

The holistic Akeyless approach extends to its support for hybrid and multi-cloud architectures, as well as multiple regions. There is no need to deploy multiple instances to support multiple regions or cloud providers—multiple providers, locations and business units can manage their secrets within the Akeyless dashboard. As a SaaS solution, Akeyless’ scaling is instantaneous, requiring no special architecture design on the part of the organization.

Having successfully served organizations across a wide range of industries and sizes, Akeyless recently expanded its platform offering with Secure Remote Access, which secures human secrets that are used within any type of remote access. It offers just-in-time (JIT) access management capabilities to help organizations ensure that employees and third party vendors have the right amount of access for the exact duration of time needed, and no more. It allows developers, DevOps personnel, security professionals and consultants to quickly access authorized, on-demand, temporary secrets as needed while significantly reducing credential leakage and theft.

Low Maintenance and Deployment

The main benefit of a SaaS solution for secrets management, of course, is the out-of-the-box high availability and disaster recovery, in addition to the minimal deployment and low maintenance. As opposed to traditional secrets management solutions, the Akeyless SaaS platform does not require professional services and is easy to use, boasting high adoption rates compared to many on-premises and open-source secrets management solutions.

Built for Enterprise DevOps

The Akeyless platform is built for enterprise DevOps teams, meant to be used as an automatic part of the DevOps workflow. Akeyless includes out-of-the-box plug-ins to easily inject secrets into CI/CD pipelines, SDLC systems, subscription management platforms, configuration management, container orchestration tools, and cloud management systems.

Security engineers, cloud architects and DevOps engineers are able to leverage the platform from day one, instead of waiting for months as is typical of legacy secrets management solutions.

"We provide SDKs, command-line interfaces, and anything needed for applications and platforms to fetch secrets whenever needed, eliminating the problem of secrets that are sprawled between different tools," adds Hareven. To provide clients with a unified end-to-end secrets management orchestration platform, Akeyless can also integrate its platform with external secrets management systems and other tools. All these capabilities make Akeyless a true secrets orchestration platform.

Low TCO

Compared to legacy secrets management solutions, the Akeyless SaaS platform shrinks engineering and deployment times and significantly reduces computing resource consumption and total cost of ownership (TCO). This has helped many clients, including Cimpress—a multinational providing a mass customization platform delivering uniquely personalized products conveniently and affordably, and the parent company of brands such as Vistaprint, Drukwerkdeal, and Pixartprinting—save significantly on ongoing costs and resources. Cimpress' existing secrets management solution lacked the functionality that Cimpress needed. They were also struggling with maintaining the solution. The Akeyless platform seamlessly solved these challenges. Within four months, Cimpress achieved a 70-percent reduction in TCO due to the zero maintenance and broad functionality of Akeyless. They were also able to leverage the solution for more DevOps teams and subsidiaries, owing to an adoption rate that is 4x higher than that of other solutions in the market.

Despite being a newer entrant in the secrets management market, Akeyless has become a head-turner with the power of its SaaS-based secrets management orchestration platform. In the last two years, Akeyless has picked up excellent traction from publicly traded companies. Companies such as Progress Software, Outbrain, and Stash have turned to the Akeyless platform to manage their credentials, APIs, certificates, encryption keys, and other sensitive secrets.

"Companies around the globe are embracing Secrets Management as a significant part of their strategic approach to cybersecurity," said Akeyless Co-Founder and President Shai Onn. "Every customer who has fully evaluated Akeyless as an alternative to the competition, has ended up selecting Akeyless’ Secrets Orchestration platform." According to the Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 61% of all breaches are a result of compromised credentials. "We are bridging the gap in the market for unified, holistic solutions to protect both machine-to-machine and human-to-machine interactions," adds Hareven. As we adjust to an era where workplace systems outnumber users and cloud infrastructure has evolved to make the physical perimeter a thing of the past, the need to manage secrets efficiently and securely has become ever more acute. Akeyless addresses these requirements with its keen focus on secrets orchestration.

Company
Akeyless

Headquarters
Tel Aviv, Israel

Management
Oded Hareven, Co-Founder and CEO Shai Onn, Co-Founder and President

Description
Akeyless is a Secrets Orchestration Platform, protecting and managing credentials, certificates and keys used by machines, applications and DevOps teams, in both hybrid and multi-cloud environments. It offers Secrets Management with extensions that provide Secure Remote Access and Data Protection