Smallstep Named an Overall Leader in KuppingerCole Secrets Management Leadership Compass 2023

Global identity and security management analyst firm recognizes the innovativeness of Smallstep and its modern approach to managing secrets across the enterprise

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Smallstep, the breakthrough platform that is de-mystifying end-to-end encryption for IT and DevOps, is sharing today that KuppingerCole’s “Leadership Compass: Secrets Management” has named Smallstep as an Overall and Innovation Leader for the comprehensiveness of the solution.

KuppingerCole Leadership Compasses provide respected market analysis that is designed to help organizations identify which vendors, products, and services they should consider within a given market. Secrets Management is a wide field. In this report, the term “secrets” refers to credentials that are used by people, systems, or devices seeking access to a protected resource such as an application, database, software module, or another device. The credential used for authentication might be a password, a token, or a key. “Secrets Management” is how a business generates, stores, shares, and protects those credentials.

“Smallstep adopts a zero trust platform management approach, and leverages the capability of their product partners to suit multiple use cases,” said Graham Williamson, Fellow Analyst at KuppingerCole Analysts AG and author of the report. “Smallstep is further recognized for the innovative nature and completeness of their certificate management solution.”

Smallstep considers encrypted communications as a base requirement for businesses today, and proper management of “secrets” is critical. The new report cites strong security features and functionality; along with a positive rating for capability of deployment, interoperability, and usability. The solution secures an organization’s infrastructure by identifying everything and everyone; using certificates to authenticate the identities of machines, workloads, and people. The commercial platform automates foundational elements of PKI architecture to simplify secure cloud deployments, implement advanced access control and approval workflows, and makes audit/reporting tools accessible from a unified dashboard.

“We are honored to be recognized in the Leadership Compass for Secrets Management,” said Mike Malone, founder and CEO. “Given KuppingerCole’s extensive experience and deep understanding of identity-based security, their acknowledgement of Smallstep as a leading innovator in the secrets management space is validating. Most secrets managers focus on vaulting and distributing shared secrets — also known as passwords. Passwords seem simple, but they’re impossible to secure fully, even with the best tools. At Smallstep, we focus on asymmetric key management. Asymmetric keys remove the gap passwords create; delivering standards-based, end-to-end security and identity from the silicon up. This approach is the future. It’s more secure than passwords and, with our technology, it’s easy too.”

Utilizing open standard protocols like SPIFFE, OAuth OIDC, and the ACME framework to provide a comprehensive PKI service for transparent and secure network connections (TLS, HTTPS, SSH), Smallstep offers an innovative approach to secrets management that is flexible and scalable across the entire enterprise. Support for ACME Device Attestation, an IETF standard that has been adopted by giants like Apple and Google, is now available by requesting access.

Mike adds, “The security challenges for today’s enterprises are only becoming more frequent and complicated in nature. We believe that certificates are the first step to an organization ensuring the security of their information.”

Read the full 2023 Leadership Compass report on Secrets Management here. Smallstep’s analysis can be found on pages 55-57.

KuppingerCole’s Report Methodology

KuppingerCole Leadership Compass is a tool which provides an overview of a particular IT market segment and identifies the leaders within that market segment. It is the compass which assists in identifying the vendors and products/services in that market which buyers should consider for product decisions.

About Smallstep

Smallstep makes zero trust practical for businesses by removing the inevitable trust gaps in infrastructure. Built on Smallstep’s popular open-source automated certificate management toolchain, the platform empowers any developer or operator to secure their critical assets properly by identifying everything and everyone. Smallstep believes that when secure systems are easier to build and operate than insecure ones, everyone wins. Learn more about operationalizing end-to-end encryption for all your hardware, software, and people at


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