What is the Hardware Security Module (HSM) and Why HSM is important?

Hardware Security Module (HSM) is a physical computing device that helps manage security in an organization. It performs encryption, digital keys management, and decryption. It is a plug-in/network device that can be connected to a physical server or a network server.

Hardware Security Module

How does HSM work?

HSM consists of one or multiple secure crypto processors to perform cryptographic operations and protect cryptographic keys. In the field of cryptography, Keys are analogous to the physical keys that lock a door. For the operative use of cryptography, proper management of cryptographic keys is essential. A crypto key must pass through a lot of phases in its lifelike generation, secure storage, secure distribution, backup, and destruction.

An HSM is used explicitly to guard these crypto keys at every phase of their life cycle. HSMs protect the Logical and physical security of cryptographic keys from unauthorized practice is managed by HSMs. This device offers an isolated environment that can create and secure cryptographic keys, protect operations of cryptography while enforcing self-implemented policies over these important encryption keys.

Best Practices and uses for HSMs:

The usage of HSMs can provide enhanced cryptographic throughout and results in a more secure and efficient architecture for your solution. The HSM becomes an invaluable component of the security solution, which not only minimizes business risks but also achieves state-of-the-art performance in cryptographic operations.

If the solution architecture design, application-level implementation, security analysis, user education, and security policy of the product are given proper research and considerations then, an HSM provides “foolproof” security for key management if.

Some Uses of HSM:

– Storage of CA (Certified Authority) Keys

– Storage of Application Master Keys

– Storage of All Application Keys

– Onboard secure key management

– Full Audit & Log traces and Multi-party User Authorization

– Zeroization of Keys

– FIPS 140-2 Validation

– Support of Cryptographic Algorithms


Few HSMs available in the market can execute specifically developed modules within the HSM’s secure environment. Business logic and algorithms can be developed in Java or any other programming language within the module itself for better optimization and achieving results faster. Such specialized HSMs are commonly being used in industries like bank and card processing etc.

JNR management is one of the best HSM providers in the business providing PKI HSM as well as card payment HSM along with SSL certificates from DigiCert. PKI HSM may be used for generating, handle, store asymmetric key pairs, and works well in both offline and online operations. Card payment HSM finds application in PIN matching and generation and supports EMV transactions.

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