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Key Management Service:Overview

Last Updated:Apr 03, 2024

Managed HSM is an important feature of Key Management Service (KMS) to enable easy access to certified hardware security modules (HSMs) provided by Alibaba Cloud.

An HSM is a highly secure hardware device that performs cryptographic operations and generates and stores keys. You can manage the keys for your most sensitive Alibaba Cloud workloads and assets in HSMs that are managed on Alibaba Cloud


You need to only check whether an HSM meets your compliance requirements.

Supported regions

You can use Managed HSM in the following regions.


Certification type

Region ID

China (Beijing)

State Cryptography Administration (SCA) certification


China (Zhangjiakou)

SCA certification


China (Hangzhou)

SCA certification


China (Shanghai)

SCA certification


China (Shenzhen)

SCA certification


China (Hong Kong)

Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2 Level 3



FIPS 140-2 Level 3


Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)

FIPS 140-2 Level 3


Indonesia (Jakarta)

FIPS 140-2 Level 3


US (Virginia)

FIPS 140-2 Level 3



Managed HSM helps you meet compliance requirements. Based on different regulatory requirements in each local market, Alibaba Cloud offers HSMs certified by different third-party organizations to meet both your localization and internationalization requirements.

For regions in mainland China:

  • SCA certification: HSMs managed by Alibaba Cloud have passed the certification of the agencies designated by SCA.

  • SCA compliance: HSMs managed by Alibaba Cloud comply with the relevant technical requirements and specifications of SCA and provide Alibaba Cloud users with commercial cryptographic algorithms that comply with both national and industrial standards.

For regions outside mainland China:

  • FIPS validation for hardware: HSMs managed by Alibaba Cloud, including their hardware and firmware, have passed FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validation. For more information about the certificate issued by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), visit Certificate #3254.

  • FIPS 140-2 Level 3 compliance: HSMs managed by Alibaba Cloud run in FIPS Approved Level 3 mode of operation.

  • PCI DSS: HSMs managed by Alibaba Cloud comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requirements.

High security assurance

  • Hardware protection

    Managed HSMs use secure hardware mechanisms to help you protect keys in KMS. The plaintext key material of CMKs is processed only inside HSMs for cryptographic operations. The material is kept within the hardware security boundary of HSMs.

  • Secure key generation

    Randomness is crucial to the encryption strength of keys. Managed HSMs use a random number generation algorithm to generate key material. The algorithm is secure and licensed and has high system entropy seeds. This protects keys from being recovered or predicted by attackers.

Ease of operation

HSM hardware is fully managed by Alibaba Cloud. This eliminates the costs otherwise incurred by the following hardware management operations:

  • Hardware lifecycle management

  • HSM cluster management

  • High availability and scalability management

  • System patching

  • Most disaster recovery operations

Ease of integration

Native key management capabilities allow you to use the following features:

  • CMK version management

  • Automatic key rotation

  • Resource tag management

  • Controlled authorization

These features enable rapid integration of your applications with managed HSMs, and the integration of other services such as ECS and ApsaraDB RDS with managed HSMs. This way, you can implement static cloud data encryption without R&D investment.

Key control

Managed HSMs allow you to better control encryption keys on the cloud and move the most sensitive computing tasks and assets to the cloud.

If you use both Managed HSM and BYOK (Bring Your Own Key), you can have full control over the following items:

  • Generation modes of key material.

  • Processing of key material: The key material that you import to a managed HSM can be destroyed but cannot be exported.

  • Lifecycle of keys.

  • Persistence of keys.


You can benefit from the pay-as-you-go billing method of cloud computing. Compared with user-created key infrastructure by using your on-premises HSMs, Managed HSM eliminates hardware procurement costs, as well as subsequent R&D and O&M costs.