Configure Hashicorp Vault as a Secret Store

This feature is currently in closed-access beta. Functionality and documentation may change.

Secret Stores allow you to use your existing third-party secrets storage tool with strongDM. Your credentials are stored in a tool that is controlled by you, and those credentials are never transmitted to strongDM in any form. If you would like to learn more about how Secret Stores work, and why you might wish to use them, please read the Secret Stores Reference.

This guide will walk you through how to register Hashicorp Vault as a secret store in strongDM, and how to use it to connect to resources.


  • a running Vault server (Vault Installation Guide)
  • credentials to some of your resources, stored in the Vault instance
  • correct paths to the credentials

Authenticating to Vault

strongDM currently supports two authentication methods to enable your relay server to authorize to Vault: Token-based Authentication and TLS Certificates.

strongDM recommends TLS Certificate-based authentication for Vault secret stores. Token-based authentication may be a good resource for testing and quick implementation, but it is inherently less secure.

Token-based authentication

Set the VAULT_TOKEN environment variables to allow the relay to authenticate with Vault.

  1. Get a Token for Vault.
  2. Set the necessary environment variable on your relay server (VAULT_TOKEN). Edit the file /etc/sysconfig/sdm-proxy (unless you have moved or renamed your sdm-proxy file) and add the following line, substituting your token:
  3. Restart the sdm-proxy service (with something like sudo systemctl restart sdm-proxy, depending on your distribution).

TLS certificate-based authentication

Follow the Vault documentation regarding Certificate authentication with Vault.

When you install the TLS Certificates on the relay server, place them in a directory that is accessible to the sdm relay service. Save the file paths for use later. Note that the policy for the certificate used needs to allow access to the secret paths.

Configure the Secret Store with the Admin UI

Once you have your Vault set up, credentials stored, and your relay server able to access said credentials, it's time to register the Vault with strongDM.

  1. In the Admin UI, go to the Settings page, and click the Secret Stores tab.
  2. Click the "add secret store" button to reveal the Add Secret Store form.
    Secret Stores Settings
    Secret Stores Settings
  3. Enter a Display Name, and set the appropriate Secret Store Type.
  4. Enter the appropriate authorization info:
    • for Token-based authentication, either the address
    • for Certificate-based authentication, enter the path to the certificates stored on your relay server

If you've configured the relay server correctly for secret store access and authorization, you will see the green online indicator.

Test access to the resource

Now, create a resource that uses the secret store, assign it to a user, and verify that you can connect.

  1. In the Admin UI, add a new resource such as a server or datasource and choose the Vault Secret Store type.
  2. Fill out the information for a resource whose credentials you have stored in your Vault secret store.
  3. Select the Vault Secrets Store you created for the Secrets Store field, then fill in the path to the secrets that you've stored in your management tool.
  4. Submit the form.
  5. Go to Users, and assign a user access to the resource.
  6. Log in as that user in your local GUI (or have the user do so, if not yours) and verify that the resource exists, text a connection, and execute a query.

Congratulations, you've connected to a resource using Secret Stores.