Every encrypted data item can only be decrypted with an encryption key. Managing key access and storage is, therefore, important; but it can also be challenging.
Mislaid keys can mean valuable data loss. Thousands of items may be protected by different algorithms and keys. Stolen keys can result in data breach and misuse.
The IRI FieldShield data masking and encryption product in the IRI Data Protector suite provides several ways to manage encryption keys. One way is to specify the keys directly within each field encryption or decryption specification. This is consistent with this Gary Palgon's advice:
"Centralize key management with distributed execution. A solution that employs a hub-and-spoke architecture for distributed key management allows encryption and decryption nodes to exist at any point within the enterprise network. Spoke key-management components are easily deployed to those nodes and integrated with the local encryption applications. Once the spoke components are active, all encryption and decryption of the formerly clear text data is performed locally to minimize the risk of a network or single component failure having a large impact on overall data security."
- Enterprise System Journal
Other ways include: specifying them in a hidden and/or secure key file, through an environment variable, or by using a public/private key pair system.
You can also work with IRI to integrate your key provisioning or storage appliance to these methods.