Hardware security modules play a vital role in providing incremental security capabilities for business applications. In many industries the use of HSMs is either specifically mandated or is a well established best practice for protecting processes that employ cryptography. These business critical processes include encryption and digital signing and other public key operations based on PKI. In these cases the HSM provides a trusted, tamper resistant environment where cryptographic keys can be used, stored and managed securely.
The Windows Server platform is one of the most widely deployed operating systems within corporate data centers and is used to host numerous security oriented core business functions such as data protection, strong authentication, digital rights management, collaboration and email services and Internet communications. Driven by increasingly stringent data protection and privacy mandates, these functions are becoming more prolific and the security attributes of these systems now incurs much greater scrutiny. Therefore, the ease with which these systems can utilize the security properties of an HSM, such as those provided by nCipher becomes paramount.
“Windows Server 2008 incorporates a number of new security enhancements including the availability of the latest cryptographic algorithms such as NSA Suite B and Elliptic Curve and Microsoft’s new Cryptographic API, CNG,” said Steve Bell, senior product manager of Windows Server marketing at Microsoft. “Microsoft is proud of nCipher’s efforts to give mutual customers the ability and confidence to migrate to this new platform seamlessly and to gain the immediate benefit of hardware grade protection for the new security features of Windows Server 2008.”
Windows Server 2008 software certification consists of approximately 100 test cases that independently confirm an application's compliance with best practices for compatibility, security, reliability, and availability on the new platform. The certification identifies top-performing technologies that are ready to deploy in mission-critical environments. As a participant in the Microsoft Early Access Program (EAP) for Windows Server 2008 Software Certification, nCipher’s netHSM and nShield were eligible for certification on a pre-release version of the new platform.
“The launch of Windows Server 2008 is an important milestone for many of our customers and we are very pleased to be the first HSM provider to be certified against this new platform,” says Richard Moulds, executive vice president of product strategy for nCipher. “Windows Server 2008 provides a host of new capabilities and significantly simplifies the deployment of HSMs which is particularly important as more application developers and end-user organizations recognize the importance of hardware protection for keys and seek to use and mange their keys in tightly integrated and market leading FIPS 140 validated HSMs.”