Yesterday, it was discovered that our developers had built a Docker container that was encrypted with a password that resided in a single location: the Azure App Service’s Application Settings (aka: an environment variable). Of course we discovered this when they pushed out a deployment of the container, something broke during the deployment, the Application Setting with the password disappeared, and no one knew what the password was.

It took nearly 30 minutes to rebuild the container with a new encryption password, which is entirely too long for a core piece of our company’s booking system to be unavailable, so until we have a proper password management solution in place, we wanted to stand up something.

Azure Key Vault to the rescue!

Azure Key Vault is a tool for securely storing and accessing secrets. A secret is anything that you want to tightly control access to, such as API keys, passwords, or certificates. A vault is logical group of secrets.

We created a new Key Vault, and set up secrets for each of our App Services because as it turns out, several – although not all – of our microservices have similar encryption setups. We then dumped in the encryption passwords for each service so that if in the future the password disappears, it’s as simple as grabbing it out of the Key Vault and re-creating it as the Application Setting.

In the future, the developers will be updating their applications to reference the Key Vault directly, but for the time being and until they can change how their apps are architected.

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