User's Guide: Export Key


This article describes the Fortanix Data Security Manager (DSM) Export Key feature. It also contains the information related to:

  • The export key as Encrypted key material
  • Export key as components

Export Key

This section describes “Export Key as Encrypted Key Material” feature of Fortanix DSM. A group administrator can use this option to select a wrapping key that will be used to encrypt the key before it is exported. The example assumes that:

  • A key with “Export” key permissions exists in the group.
  • The group has the following quorum policy: the members Approver1 and Approver2 form a quorum group, and 1 out of the 2 member’s approvals are required to approve an operation in the group.

In this example:

  • A group administrator User1 creates an “Export Key as Encrypted Key Material” request.
  • The goal is to export the AES key named “Key 1” so that User1 can download the key.
  1. First, the group administrator User1 creates an “Export Key as Encrypted Key Material” request by navigating to the detailed view of the key “Key 1” to be exported and should click EXPORT KEY
    The EXPORT KEY button will be disabled:
    • If the Key type is not AES, DES, SECRET, HMAC, RSA, EC, or DES3.
    • If the Key does not have the “Export” permission selected.
    • If Quorum policy is not set in the group.
    • The Wrapping Key must have the ”WRAP” permission.
    If you select the key type as Secret, EC, or RSA and when you click the EXPORT KEY button, then the EXPORT KEY window will only have the wrapped key export option since this format does not support the component export. When you submit, a Quorum approval request is sent for exporting the key. After the request is approved, you can download the key from the Tasks tab or from the dashboard.
  2. In the “EXPORT KEY” window, the administrator (User1) selects the AS ENCRYPTED KEY MATERIAL radio button and provides the following details:
    • Select Wrapping Key: Select the key with “WRAP” permission that will be listed to wrap the key “Key1” before being exported.
      The wrapping key can be AES keys only.
    • Cipher Mode: Select the cipher mode of encryption that should be applied to the key material. There are three types of encryption cipher modes to choose from:
      • ECB: In this method, plain text is divided into blocks of size 64 bits each. Each such block is encrypted independently of other blocks. For all blocks, the same key is used for encryption.
      • KW: This method uses symmetric encryption to encapsulate key material.
      • KWP: In this method, additional padding of bits or bytes is appended to the encapsulated key material.
        A cipher mode of operation may not be available for selection based on the source and selected wrapping key combination.
  3. Click SUBMIT EXPORT REQUEST to submit the export request.
  4. After the “Export as Encrypted Key Material” request Is created, a quorum approval request will be sent to the quorum members that form the group quorum policy. In this example, Approver1 and Approver2 will receive a notification that the requester User1 has created an “Export by Encrypted Key Material” request for the key “Key 1”.
    The following figure shows Approver1’s account page, where the “Export by Encrypted Key Material” request is shown. At this point, Approver1 can approve or decline the request.Pending_Approval_Request.png
    Figure 1: Export Request to Approve        
    The Approvers can also review the export key request from TASKS Task.png tab -> PENDING tab -> Import/Export tab in the Fortanix DSM UI.
  5. The Approver1 can review the export request by clicking the APPROVE button. This step must also be performed by Approver2 so that quorum is achieved. Once the quorum approves the “Key Export” request, the following dialog box opens on the screen:

    Any Approver can cancel the export operation by clicking the DECLINE button. At this point, the “Export by Encrypted Key Material” request is declined, and the users will not receive the key components. This state is final; once a request is declined by a quorum member, it cannot be approved. Even if other quorum members have approved the request.
  6. The Exported Key will now be available for User1 to download under the TASKS Task.png tab -> COMPLETED tab -> Import/Export tab in the Fortanix DSM UI or in the Dashboard view.
  7. By clicking the DOWNLOAD THE KEY link, the user will be displayed with the export key details showing the Wrapping key, Key KCV, and the format to download the key. Click DOWNLOAD THE KEY to successfully download the key.

Export Key as Components

The Export Key as Components feature allows a user to export a key as components to other users such that each user has a component of the key. To export a key as components:

  • A Key Custodian policy should be set at the group level.
  • A Quorum Policy should exist for the group.
  • In the absence of the above policies, the Export Key button will be disabled.

For the complete end-to-end workflow of the “Export key by component” feature, refer to the article


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