Thales Helps Microsoft Launch BYOK (Bring Your Own Key)

Unveils cloud-based digital rights management system

November 7, 2013

4 Min Read


Plantation, FL – November 6, 2013 – Thales, leader in information systems and communications security announces that its nShield hardware security modules (HSMs) have been deployed by Microsoft to provide enhanced security for Microsoft Rights Management service (Windows Azure RMS). The new online offering – a cloud-based digital rights management system – forms the core of a new secure collaboration service accessible from anywhere, by anyone and supporting a multitude of document formats.

Until now rights management has mainly focused on infrastructure deployed within the enterprise over which an organization had complete control. By shifting to a cloud-based model customers now have the ability to dramatically expand accessibility and ease of use – particularly when collaborating with parties outside their own network and across today’s highly dispersed organizations. However, the issue of control and security is still paramount.

The goal for any security-oriented cloud services is to convey confidence that sensitive data in the cloud is protected, confidence that different tenants are strongly segregated and that control over critical security assets such as cryptographic keys remains with the customer. Recognizing this, Microsoft went beyond simply using HSMs in the Windows Azure cloud to enhance the security of the RMS service by enabling customers to ‘bring your own key’ (BYOK). By using a Thales nShield HSM on-premise an organization can generate and securely transfer their critical Tenant Key (the customer’s master key) to Thales HSMs in Windows Azure where it is used to underpin the security of their RMS service. This gives organizations complete custody and visibility over the use of their master key and the reassurance that they can use the Microsoft service on their own terms.

Dan Plastina, Partner Group Program Manager, Microsoft says: “The Microsoft Rights Management service helps customer safeguard their data, both inside and outside of the organization. As a result of our collaboration with Thales, our customers can generate and upload their own master keys to a cloud-based HSM and keep complete control over their keys, giving them confidence that their data is protected.”

Richard Moulds, vice president strategy at Thales e-Security says: “The Windows Azure RMS service is a great example of where the unique properties of the cloud can be exploited to transform the usability and value of traditionally in-house security systems and therefore greatly promote their adoption. Innovative capabilities such as the ‘bring your own key’ philosophy and the use of HSMs can protect both the consumer and the cloud provider and build the confidence to trust the service with an organization’s most valuable assets. As organizations focus on moving their more sensitive data and applications to the cloud the issue of retaining control takes center stage and sound key management is an effective way of achieving that. The ability to release keys to cloud providers on a ‘need to use basis’ and to revoke them as necessary will be an increasingly powerful tool.”

Supporting resources: Whitepaper: Hardware Key Management in the RMS Cloud Whitepaper: Microsoft Rights Management anagement-services-whitepaper.aspx RMS Team Blog: ive-in-preview.aspx

About Thales e-Security Thales e-Security is a leading global provider of data encryption and cyber security solutions to the financial services, high technology, manufacturing, government and technology sectors. With a 40-year track record of protecting corporate and government information, Thales solutions are used by four of the five largest energy and aerospace companies, 22 NATO countries, and secure more than 80 per cent of worldwide payment transactions. Thales e-Security has offices in Australia, France, Hong Kong, Norway, United States and the United Kingdom.

About Thales Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace & Transportation and the Defence & Security markets. In 2012, the company generated revenues of €14.2 billion with 65,000 employees in 56 countries. With its 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers and local partners.

Positioned as a value-added systems integrator, equipment supplier and service provider, Thales is one of Europe’s leading players in the security market. The Group’s security teams work with government agencies, local authorities and civil operators to develop and deploy integrated, resilient solutions to protect citizens, sensitive data and critical infrastructure.

In the IT security market, the Group is one of the world leaders in cryptographic security solutions for critical government and military infrastructure, satellite constellations, enterprise customers and financial institutions. Thales’s unique positioning in the marketplace derives from its ability to address every link in the security chain and deliver end-to-end security and asset protection assurance.

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