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The Most Common Secrets Management Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

April 20, 2022

Passwords, API keys, certificates, and other sensitive data are critical to your organization’s ability to ​​authenticate applications and users, in addition to providing them with access to sensitive systems, services, and information. So naturally, protecting that sensitive data and ensuring it’s being stored and shared securely should be a primary concern for your teams. Read on to learn about the most common secerts management mistakes.

But all too often, organizations overlook secrets management until it starts causing problems. Taking a retroactive approach to securing sensitive information not only puts your organization’s security in jeopardy, but it can also have a major impact on your bottom line. For this reason, it’s important to proactively work to achieve a unified view across all your secrets in order to properly track changes, manage access, improve visibility, and identify security threats.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common secrets management mistakes and how your organization can take action today to avoid them.

Failing to Define and Identify Your Secrets

If your team has a hard time distinguishing development secrets from production secrets or vice versa, there’s a solid chance your sensitive information will be leaked. It’s easy to become wrapped up in fortifying your digital defenses in order to keep your secrets secure, but ensuring your teams know how to define and identify those secrets is equally important. 

A whopping 92% of organizations view accidental and improper sharing of data by employees as a critical threat to their business, a number that has risen in recent years as a result of more teams working remotely and from their own devices. Thorough documentation of what’s expected of your employees and how they can accurately distinguish secrets from one another can help minimize human error and ensure sensitive data isn’t exposed.

Take time to organize secrets so that they are protected with strong a role-based-access permission model. Doing so could make all the difference in avoiding serious security breaches.

Insufficient Access Control Leads to Secrets Management Mistakes

52% of organizations don’t use password vaults or any other dedicated secrets management tools or systems to manage digital credentials. Those organizations are naturally prone to security gaps, not to mention auditing challenges. Just think about all of the sensitive accounts, applications, tools, and containers your team is accessing, and all of their associated secrets. 65% of IT and DevOps employees estimate their company has more than 500 secrets, with 1 in 5 noting they have more secrets than they can count.

Naturally, when you have a boatload of disparate secrets and environments, it’s harder to have oversight into who has access to what. Strict access control ensures only the individuals who need access to secrets have access and can utilize security best practices such as credential rotation and activity-limited access to further ensure your sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Seeing as leaked infrastructure secrets cost companies an average of $1.2 million in revenue per year, it’s safe to say that taking access control seriously is in your organization’s best interests.

Keep Your Secrets Safe & Sound

Secrets management is just one of the many moving parts of configuration management. In a perfect world, your organization could treat company information securely up until the application is launched, after which you don’t have to worry about the integrity of your secrets. At CloudTruth, we work to keep your secrets safe and sound in a streamlined, simplified manner.

CloudTruth provides a centralized platform for you to manage passwords, API keys, certificates, and other sensitive data to inject secrets into build, deploy, and run-time pipelines. Best of all, CloudTruth works within your current secrets stores, Terraform, GitHub Actions, and more, meaning our platform builds on your existing solutions, instead of replacing them.

Learn more about our centralized secrets management solutions and see how our platform can help you store, distribute, and manage secrets securely.

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