General Purpose HSM (nShield)

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Published: 3 March 2023

Reading time: 3 minutes

Hardware Security Modules (HSM) offer protection to your most sensitive data, control access, and limit risk to your company’s sensitive private keys.

The Challenge

Today, businesses collect and store sensitive data of customers like credit card information, banking details, health records, etc. The misuse of these hypersensitive data could lead to a digital disaster. This information about customers is often stored on devices and on servers.
Sometimes, even the encrypted data are leaked because the private key gets stolen or hacked.

The Solution

Companies need Hardware Security Modules (HSM) to make data invulnerable to leaks or tampering.

Why Should You Use A Hardware Security Module (HSM)?

HSM is an isolated cryptographic engine that can secure, generate, and manage cryptographic keys for various purposes. The use of HSMs is virtually unlimited, depending on the needs and scale of operation. Hardware security modules in an organization can be used to:

  • Protect hardware devices from unauthorized access or penetration attacks
  • Reduce the number of security incidents related to lost or stolen tokens
  • Ensure regulatory compliance related to data security 
  • Separate cryptographic functions from regular operations
  • Authorize and authenticate the critical cryptographic transfer
  • Permanently delete private keys to ensure non-recovery
  • Ensure the protection of cryptographic keys

The HSMs can be used to secure data that is beyond your premise. HSM-generated certificates can help in Remote device authentication. HSM-generated keys are best to be used to secure data in the cloud. These keys can be securely transferred to the cloud (eg: Azure, AWS, GCP) and can be used with security applications.

How are HSMs used?

Any business that handles valuable or sensitive information should consider using a hardware security module. That type of information includes credit or debit card data, intellectual property, customer data, and employee information.

HSMs secure data generated by a range of applications, including the following:

  • websites
  • banking
  • mobile payments
  • medical devices
  • digital documents
  • identity cards and personal identification numbers (PINs)

HSM devices are also used for several purposes, including digital signing, PKI, code signing, key generation, and management, ensuring compliance, simplifying audits reports, and securing data, and digital identities.

How HSMs Improve IT and Data Security?

  • Generate the most cryptographically strong keys for your PKI. HSMs have built-in true random number generators (TRNGs) that provide randomness and unpredictability.
  • Secure your organization’s cryptographic operations and services. Restricting these functions (such as signing PKI certificates, applications and documents) to occur only within the secure, stand-alone environment of the HSM helps to prevent key exposure.
  • Improve server performance via load balancing.
  • Protect your keys from insecure extractions that can lead to compromise.
  • Secure the keys for your development, testing and production environments. An HSM protects the private PKI keys used by the software and systems relating to your internal production and testing environments so these systems can use them without direct access.
  • Ensure compliance with data security regulations and simplify audit processes. HSMs are typically validated hardware components that ensure compliance because they meet specific industry standards. They also provide tamper-resistant logs that inform you about:
  1. what cryptographic operations they’re used to perform,
  2. when these operations were carried out, and
  3. who was responsible for authorizing those operations.


HSMs are an investment and often well worth the cost. With tightly controlled access and specialized hardware, an HSM is necessary for many industries to maintain security and compliance, as well as to practice and maintain strong key management practices for your data.

nShield solution from Entrust is helping us with two main requirements that we needed security and encryption of data. It provides us with full control over the access of keys and policies. It is solving our problem of storage, it provides unlimited key storage.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you need data protection providing a root of trust for tomorrow’s technologies:

  • Cloud Security
  • Credentialing and PKI Applications
  • Data Security and Encryption
  • Payments

It is a very secure solution that addressed business needs, proven by completely satisfied users on Gartner

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