Key Vault allows you to securely access sensitive information from within your applications:
- Keys and secrets are protected without having to write the code yourself and you are easily able to use them from your applications.
- You are able to have your customers own and manage their own keys so you can concentrate on providing the core software features. In this way, your applications will not own the responsibility or potential liability for your customers’ tenant keys and secrets.
- Your application can use keys for signing and encryption yet keeps the key management external from your application, allowing your solution to be suitable as a geographically distributed app.
- As of the September 2016 release of Key Vault, your applications can now use Key Vault certificates. For more information, see About keys, secrets, and certificates.
For more general information on Azure Key Vault, see What is Key Vault.
Public Preview - May 10, 2017
For this preview version of Azure Key Vault only the soft-delete feature is in preview. Azure Key Vault, as a whole, is a full production service.
For more information on the new soft-delete feature, see Azure Key Vault soft delete overview.
This video shows you how to create your own key vault and how to use it from the 'Hello Key Vault' sample application.
Resources mentioned in above video:
Creating and Managing Key Vaults
Before working with Azure Key Vault in your code, you can create and manage vaults through REST, Resource Manager Templates, PowerShell or CLI, as described in the following articles:
- Create and Manage Key Vaults with REST
- Create and Manage Key Vaults with PowerShell
- Create and Manage Key Vaults with CLI
- Create a key vault and add a secret via an Azure Resource Manager template
Operations against key vaults are authenticated through AAD and authorized through Key Vault’s own Access Policy, defined per vault.
Coding with Key Vault
The Key Vault management system for programmers consists of several interfaces, with REST as the foundation. Through the REST interface, all of your key vaults resources are accessible; keys, secrets and certificates. Key Vault REST API Reference.
Supported programming languages
For more information on the 2.x version of the .NET SDK, see the Release notes.
In Node.js, the vault management API and the vault object API are separate. Key Vault Management allows creating and updating your key vault. Key Vault Operations API is for working with vault objects like; keys, secrets and certificates.
For complete examples using Key Vault with your applications, see:
- Azure Key Vault code samples - .NET sample application HelloKeyVault and an Azure web service example.
- Use Azure Key Vault from a Web Application - tutorial to help you learn how to use Azure Key Vault from a web application in Azure.
The following articles and scenarios provide task-specific guidance for working with Azure Key Vault:
- Change key vault tenant ID after subscription move - When you move your Azure subscription from tenant A to tenant B, your existing key vaults are inaccessible by the principals (users and applications) in tenant B. Fix this using this guide.
- Accessing Key Vault behind firewall - To access a key vault your key vault client application needs to be able to access multiple end-points for various functionalities.
- How to Generate and Transfer HSM-Protected Keys for Azure Key Vault - This will help you plan for, generate and then transfer your own HSM-protected keys to use with Azure Key Vault.
- How to pass secure values (such as passwords) during deployment - When you need to pass a secure value (like a password) as a parameter during deployment, you can store that value as a secret in an Azure Key Vault and reference the value in other Resource Manager templates.
- How to use Key Vault for extensible key management with SQL Server - The SQL Server Connector for Azure Key Vault enables SQL Server and SQL-in-a-VM to leverage the Azure Key Vault service as an Extensible Key Management (EKM) provider to protect its encryption keys for applications link; Transparent Data Encryption, Backup Encryption, and Column Level Encryption.
- How to deploy Certificates to VMs from Key Vault - A cloud application running in a VM on Azure needs a certificate. How do you get this certificate into this VM today?
- How to set up Key Vault with end to end key rotation and auditing - This walks through how to set up key rotation and auditing with Azure Key Vault.
- Deploying Azure Web App Certificate through Key Vault provides step-by-step instructions for deploying certificates stored in Key Vault as part of App Service Certificate offering.
- Grant permission to many applications to access a key vault Key Vault access control policy only supports 16 entries. However you can create an Azure Active Directory security group. Add all the associated service principals to this security group and then grant access to this security group to Key Vault.
For more task-specific guidance on integrating and using Key Vaults with Azure, see Ryan Jones' Azure Resource Manager template examples for Key Vault.
Integrated with Key Vault
These articles are about other scenarios and services that use or integrate with Key Vault.
- Azure Disk Encryption leverages the industry standard BitLocker feature of Windows and the DM-Crypt feature of Linux to provide volume encryption for the OS and the data disks. The solution is integrated with Azure Key Vault to help you control and manage the disk encryption keys and secrets in your key vault subscription, while ensuring that all data in the virtual machine disks are encrypted at rest in your Azure storage.
- Azure Data Lake Store provides option for encryption of data that is stored in the account. For key management, Data Lake Store provides two modes for managing your master encryption keys (MEKs), which are required for decrypting any data that is stored in the Data Lake Store. You can either let Data Lake Store manage the MEKs for you, or choose to retain ownership of the MEKs using your Azure Key Vault account. You specify the mode of key management while creating a Data Lake Store account.
- Azure Information Protection allows you to manager your own tenant key. For example, instead of Microsoft managing your tenant key (the default), you can manage your own tenant key to comply with specific regulations that apply to your organization. Managing your own tenant key is also referred to as bring your own key, or BYOK.
Key Vault overviews and concepts
- Key Vault security worlds and geographic boundaries details how all HSMs at Azure locations in the same geographic region share the same cryptographic boundary (Thales Security World).
- Key Vault soft-delete behavior describes a feature that allows recovery of deleted objects, whether the deletion was accidental or intentional.
- Microsoft Azure Key Vault Core Library provides IKey and IKeyResolver interfaces for locating keys from identifiers and performing operations with keys.
- Microsoft Azure Key Vault Extensions provides extended capabilities for Azure Key Vault.