You've just installed Reporting Services, now back up that encryption key!

I presented some demos at this year's PASS (Professional Association of SQL Server) Community Summit on how to use the rskeymgmt utility in Reporting Services. This is a crucial tool and should be used after every Reporting Services installation. What is it good for? Well, it can do several things, least of which is to extract and store the symmetric keys used to encrypt data in the report server database or catalog. This tool captures the complete key set that is defined during setup, and stores it as a file that you can save to disk or to removable storage media. You will absolutely need this key at some point if the account that is used for the ReportServer Windows service changes in some way (if a password is changed for instance) or if you want to connect a new report server to an existing report server database instance. Without the ability to apply this key at a later date to a report server instance, you may be forced to delete all encrypted data in your catalog including data source and user information. The rskeymgmt utility can help with that as well, but this shouldn't be necessary as long as you back up the key. The key is an integral part of storing encrypted data. If, at some point, the encryption key for the report server instance is different from the key used to store encrypted content in the database (i.e. a new report server installation, but an existing catalog), you report server will not function properly. So, bottom line, store your encryption key on a floppy disk for safe keeping using rskeymgmt. You can read the specifics about the tool on MSDN here.