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What is Vault and why should you care?

What is Vault:

At its core, a Vault is a tool for managing secrets. Secrets can be anything from API keys to passwords to SSL certificates. They can be used to access databases, encrypt web traffic, or even just log into a system. Vault provides a central place to manage secrets while also providing granular control over who can access them and how they are used.

Brief About Vault:

Vault is particularly well-suited for managing secrets in cloud environments. With the rise of cloud computing, organizations are increasingly using dynamic, distributed systems. This can lead to secret sprawl, where secrets are scattered across multiple devices and applications. Vault provides a single platform for managing all of your secrets, which makes it much easier to keep track of them and ensure that they are properly secured.

In addition to providing centralized secret management, Vault also offers a number of other features that make it an attractive option for organizations looking to improve their security posture. For example, Vault can be used to generate temporary credentials for accessing sensitive data. This enables organizations to rotate their credentials on a regular basis, which helps prevent breaches caused by compromised credentials. Vault also supports audit logging, so you can track who accesses your secrets and when. This is valuable information to have in the event of a breach, as it can help you determine which secrets were compromised and how the attacker gained access to them.

Example :

I have provided a simple example using Node js and Axios to access Vault

Example to perform App role login

As a first step, We have to authenticate ourselves by passing the role_id and secret_id by the app role authentication method to fetch the token. This token is very crucial to access further data from the vault. The next step is that we will be making another API call with the token that we received by performing the App role login to fetch the secrets. check the below code for the illustration.

Example Code for fetching secrets

So this is how we will read the secrets from the vault.

Conclusion:

Vault is a powerful tool for managing secrets in dynamic, distributed environments. It offers centralized secret management, fine-grained access control, and robust auditing capabilities. If you’re looking for a way to improve your organization’s security posture, Vault is definitely worth considering.

Reference:

https://developer.hashicorp.com/vault/docs/what-is-vault

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