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Why You Should Integrate SSH Machine Identities Across Your Technology Ecosystem

Why You Should Integrate SSH Machine Identities Across Your Technology Ecosystem

February 3, 2022 | Scott Carter

SSH machine identities are used to access nearly all the technology solutions that are deployed across your expanded network and security infrastructure. As a result, you need to be prepared to integrate and orchestrate SSH machine identities across a multitude of enterprise IT systems.

How well are your SSH machine identities secured? Find out now!
">Are Your SSH Machine Identities Secured? Find Out Now!
CI/CD Pipelines

Machine identities that enable automated access to an SSH server are often used by developers in continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines and with concepts like Infrastructure as Code (IaC). Automating access to policy-compliant SSH keys in the deployment pipeline helps ensure security as developers log in to a server using SSH.

The SSH private key is a sensitive piece of data because it’s the entry ticket to a server. Traditionally, developers generated an SSH key on the host machine, authorized it on the server (that is, copy the public key to the server) to log in manually and performed the deployment routine. Automating that traditional process within a developer’s system of choice not only saves time but also increases security as you can control access and configuration.

Key Vaults

Key vaults are critical to effective SSH machine identity management because they help organizations protect, monitor, detect, alert, and manage privileged accounts and other credentials for applications, scripts and other machine identities.

Automating access to privileged credentials in key vaults allows SSH machine identity management solutions to perform sensitive renewal, replacement, and re-key operations without administrator involvement or the need to store credentials outside of the key vault. This reduces time-consuming administrative tasks that can also increase the risk of unnecessarily exposing private keys to additional people. By automating this process, you can accelerate the speed of your security operations and increase agility to respond to incidents.


Another component of your SSH machine identity management infrastructure may include a hardware security module (HSM), which is a physical device that you connect to your network. While creating software generated SSH keys is a suitable method, a more secure way is to have the HSM create these keys. Having these keys created from hardware by the HSM gives the keys better entropy.


Integrating and managing SSH access across your infrastructure will increase the systems security as you control who can access given systems. Venafi SSH Protect offers the integrations you need to successfully manage and protect SSH keys across your network.

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About the author

Scott Carter
Scott Carter

Scott is Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Venafi. With over 20 years in cybersecurity marketing, his expertise leads him to help large organizations understand the risk to machine identities and why they should protect them

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