We are trying to encrypt files in a manner that they can be completely secure in an insecure environment (like a public cloud). We're talking about military grade secure.

The data should be so secure in the public cloud, that the employees cannot access the files (insider threat) and no MitM can access the file.

Our initial idea was to make a VPN (OpenVPN) tunnel between the customer and the public cloud and encrypt the files exchanged using PGP (GnuPG).

Is this secure enough for this use case? We are dealing with PII.

P.S. is it possible to somehow split out trust for the private key on multiple servers on multiple split files on multiple cloud providers?

  • 2
    Military grade security is incompatible with a public cloud infrastructure.
    – A. Hersean
    Apr 25 at 12:25
  • The VPN and GPG usages you describe only protects data in transit on the public network. How do you plan to protect the stored data?
    – A. Hersean
    Apr 25 at 12:27
  • Also, this might be a XY problem. What are your trying to achieve? Why do you need to use a public environment?
    – A. Hersean
    Apr 25 at 12:30
  • @A.Hersean the stored data should be secured using PGP if that's possible. We want to achieve a secure communication of PII from the customer to our infrastructure. We want to use public cloud due to the fact that it supposedly uses higher security standards and we're not able to achieve these standards ourselves (high physical security etc)
    – Munchkin
    Apr 25 at 12:33
  • 1
    You have a problem with your threat and trust models. Address those first. If you consider the remote service insecure, then you shouldn't be storing secret keys or other brute-forcible items there in the first place. YTTMMV. Apr 25 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


I'm sure there's a few security professionals that can spin stories about "military grade" security.

So you want to encrypt data and process it with zero insider threat? What you're looking for is homomorphic encryption. That's a mean geanie, formulate your questions perfectly. But if something is ever decrypted in the cloud there is an insider somewhere with access to that running process/decrypted data (in the public cloud).

To be less hyperbolic, minimize insiders with access to a system, store keys in a KMS or HSM and store all values encrypted at rest. Clouds often have special pricing for HIPPA or military grade clouds. And hire a security consultant for the particulars if it means that much to you.

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