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Streamlining Login with Hashicorp Vault´s Single-Sign-On Solution

In IT, regulations and laws dictate the way Cybersecurity is supposed to be handled. To meet requirements in a rather comfortable way, Single-Sign-On (SSO) turns out to be the go-to solution. We have taken a closer look at a major player in the field: Hashicorp Vault 

Unlock the Power of Single-Sign-On: Say Goodbye to Multiple Passwords

With the use of SSO, users only have to authenticate once to get access to a number of services. Therefore, SSO reduces the number of service-specific accounts (and with them: passwords). This increases security in a company because fewer credentials have to be memorized and administered (than with conventional methods), thus avoiding unnecessary security risks. Additionally, time can be saved by having a central system that stores and manages passwords and usernames. A feature that is especially useful to the administration. 

Discovering the Benefits of Vault

Hashicorp Vault is a secret management system that securely manages and protects access to data and other sensitive information, so-called secrets. Vault uses a role-based authorization system to ensure that only authorized users and systems can access these secrets. Authentication and authorization in particular play a key role in access control. Hashicorp Vault provides several different authentication methods, for example LDAP, username and password, certificates, tokens, etc. These are used to gain access to Secret Engines. With them, the user gains access to static secrets, for example a key-value storage, or dynamically generated secrets, such as database or application logins. 

Vault in Action

To get a less theoretical sense of Vault, imagine the following: Our example company uses LDAP to organize their employees in departments, positions, etc. These users should be able to gain access to a PostgreSQL database, but some of them should have more privileges than others. With Vault, it is possible to enable LDAP as an Authentication Method and PostgreSQL as a Database Secret Engine. The user rights are defined in rules that map LDAP data to pre-defined privileges for our database users. 

The Mechanism of Policy Mapping

As considered above, gaining access to Vault does not allow you to gain access to all Secret Engines. That is where policies come in place. Policies provide fine-tuned control of access that increases our security. Likewise, secrets can be managed securely because credentials do not need to be stored in plain text or in an application or configuration file. Users can log into Vault and retrieve only the Secrets they need, while not needing to know the direct credentials or other sensitive material. Within Vault, the policy is divided into path-based permissions and can be customized as needed. Again, Vault offers extensive configuration options. 

Leveraging Vault for an Ideal Single Sign-On Solution

Vault allows not only storing, but also creating, managing and automatically rotating credentials. With only one authentication via one of the methods, access to additional services can be allowed. Automatic logging via so-called "leases" and "lease IDs" helps to track who, when and where authorized or who, when and which credentials were generated or accessed. Vault is therefore a very versatile and powerful SSO tool. 

In Summary

Hashicorp Vault is a powerful secret management system that can be used to securely manage and protect important credentials and other sensitive information. The system offers a variety of features and capabilities that makes it easy to securely store and administer secrets. It allows authorized users and systems to access the stored secrets. As with other SSO solutions, a high level of expertise or a longer training period must be considered due to the high complexity of Hashicorp Vault. Overall, the software can be easily integrated into existing infrastructures, such as Kubernetes, due to its high flexibility and scalability. The ability to use different authentication methods and create policies to control permissions therefore makes Vault an excellent solution, especially in terms of IT security. 

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Freitag, 01. März 2024

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