What is an SSH Key Manager?

SSH KeysWhat is an SSH key manager? As the name suggests, an SSH key manager is a utility that is used to manage SSH keys. Secure Shell (SSH) keys are a user access credential that is used with the SSH protocol, which creates an encrypted pathway for system to system communication. While effective and secure, the challenge with the SSH protocol is that the number of SSH keys in an environment can grow exponentially as an IT organization scales in size and scope, which can be difficult to manage effectively with a manual approach. Of course, this is where an SSH key manager can be useful.

Why Manage SSH Keys?

SSH keys are used to access the SSH protocol, which follows the client/server model to create an encrypted path of communication between one system and another. SSH key pairs are comprised of a public key that is used to encrypt information transferred via the SSH protocol, and a private key that is used to decrypt information received. Without the correct SSH key pair, it is nearly impossible for a user to access and read any data transferred via the encrypted pathway. Said another way, SSH keys are an authentication method used to gain access to an encrypted connection between systems, which authorizes users to read and write encrypted data transferred via the SSH protocol.

In the modern era, SSH keys are often used to securely manage and connect users to remote resources such as AWS® cloud servers, Azure® infrastructure, and Google Compute Services® (GCE). These are often critical systems to the organization, hence the need for SSH keys to protect them. SSH keys can be provisioned on an individual basis, and the added encryption of the SSH protocol makes it ideal for securing user access to critical systems. However, when you consider that each encrypted connection between systems requires a unique SSH key pair for each user, then it’s easy to see how IT admins can easily lose control of SSH key management with a manual approach.

If IT admins lose control of the SSH keys (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Vince Lujan. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/ssh-key-manager

Vince Lujan

Vince is a documentation and blog writer at JumpCloud, the world’s first cloud-based directory service. Vince recently graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing from the University of New Mexico, and enjoys researching new innovations in cloud architecture and infrastructure.

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