Skip to content
Switch branches/tags
Go to file

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

Venafi MPL 2.0 License Community Supported Compatible with TPP 18.2+ & Cloud
This open source project is community-supported. To report a problem or share an idea, use Issues; and if you have a suggestion for fixing the issue, please include those details, too. In addition, use Pull Requests to contribute actual bug fixes or proposed enhancements. We welcome and appreciate all contributions. Got questions or want to discuss something with our team? Join us on Slack!

Venafi PKI Monitoring Secrets Engine for HashiCorp Vault

This solution allows HashiCorp Vault users to provide their Information Security organization visibility into certificate issuance. Vault issued certificates are automatically forwarded to the Venafi Platform or the Venafi Cloud for DevOps service which enables risk assessment, incident response, and auditing that ensures compliance with enterprise security policy. The secrets engine component was sourced from the original HashiCorp Vault PKI secrets engine.


Requirements for use with Trust Protection Platform

  1. For policy enforcement, the Venafi WebSDK user that Vault will be using needs to have been granted view and read permissions to the policy folder from which Venafi policy will be obtained.
  2. For issuance visibility, the Venafi WebSDK user that Vault will be using needs to have been granted write and create permission to the policy folder where Vault issued certificates will be imported, and the Allow Users to Import Duplicate Certificates and Reuse Private Keys policy of that folder needs to be set to 'Yes' to ensure that all certificates issued by the Vault can be imported.

Trust between Vault and Trust Protection Platform

The Trust Protection Platform REST API (WebSDK) must be secured with a certificate. Generally, the certificate is issued by a CA that is not publicly trusted so establishing trust is a critical part of your setup.

Two methods can be used to establish trust. Both require the trust anchor (root CA certificate) of the WebSDK certificate. If you have administrative access, you can import the root certificate into the trust store for your operating system. If you don't have administrative access, or prefer not to make changes to your system configuration, save the root certificate to a file in PEM format (e.g. /opt/venafi/bundle.pem) and reference it using the trust_bundle_file parameter whenever you create or update a PKI role in your Vault.


This plugin was originally sourced from the built-in Vault PKI secrets engine and enhanced with features for integrating with Venafi Platform and Cloud.

  1. Create the directory where your Vault server will look for plugins (e.g. /etc/vault/vault_plugins). The directory must not be a symbolic link. On macOS, for example, /etc is a link to /private/etc. To avoid errors, choose an alternative directory such as /private/etc/vault/vault_plugins.

  2. Download the latest vault-pki-monitor-venafi release package for your operating system. There are two versions, optional and script. The "optional" version allows certificates to be issues by the Vault CA when there is no Venafi policy applied whereas the "strict" version will return an error. Note that the URL for the zip file, referenced below, changes as new versions of the plugin are released.

    $ wget -q
  3. Compare the checksum of the package to the listed value on the GitHub release page.

    $ sha256sum
  4. Unzip the binary to the plugin directory.

    $ unzip
    $ mv venafi-pki-monitor /etc/vault/vault_plugins
  5. Update the Vault server configuration to specify the plugin directory:

    plugin_directory = "/etc/vault/vault_plugins"

    📌 NOTE: If plugin directory is a symbolic link, Vault responds with an error🔖. If you're configuring on a MacBook, /etc is default symlinked to /private/etc. To prevent the error from occurring, change the plugin_directory to a non-symlinked directory. For example "/private/etc/vault/vault_plugins". If you make this change, keep it in mind as you go through the remaining steps.

  6. Start your vault using the server command.

  7. Get the SHA-256 checksum of the venafi-pki-monitor plugin binary (should be the same value found in the venafi-pki-monitor.SHA256SUM file that accompanied the plugin in the zip file):

    $ SHA256=$(sha256sum /etc/vault/vault_plugins/venafi-pki-monitor |cut -d' ' -f1)
  8. Register the venafi-pki-monitor plugin in the Vault system catalog:

    $ vault write sys/plugins/catalog/secret/venafi-pki-monitor \
        sha_256="${SHA256}" command="venafi-pki-monitor"
    Success! Data written to: sys/plugins/catalog/secret/venafi-pki-monitor

    📌 NOTE: If you get an error that says "can not execute files outside of configured plugin directory", it's probably because you didn't set the plugin directory correctly with a non-symlinked directory as mentioned earlier. Also, make sure this change is reflected when calling for the SHA-256 checksum.

  9. Enable the secrets engine for the venafi-pki-monitor plugin:

    $ vault secrets enable -path=pki -plugin-name=venafi-pki-monitor plugin
    Success! Enabled the venafi-pki-monitor secrets engine at: pki/
  10. Configure a Venafi secret that maps a name in Vault to connection and authentication settings for retrieving certificate policy and importing certificates into Venafi. The zone is a policy folder for Trust Protection Platform or a DevOps project zone for Venafi Cloud. Obtain the access_token and refresh_token for Trust Protection Platform using the VCert CLI (getcred action with --client-id "hashicorp-vault-monitor-by-venafi" and --scope "certificate:manage,discover") or the Platform's Authorize REST API method.

    Trust Protection Platform:

    $ vault write pki/venafi/tpp \
        url="" trust_bundle_file="/path/to/bundle.pem" \
        access_token="tn1PwE1QTZorXmvnTowSyA==" refresh_token="MGxV7DzNnclQi9CkJMCXCg=="

    📌 NOTE: Supplying a refresh_token allows the secrets engine to automatically obtain new tokens and operate without interruption whenever the access_token expires. This behavior is important to understand because it may require you to provide a new access_token and refresh_token if you need to modify the Venafi secret in the future (i.e. depending upon whether the original set of tokens has been refreshed by the secrets engine plugin).

    Venafi Cloud:

    $ vault write pki/venafi/cloud apikey="xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx"

    Following options are supported (note: this list can also be viewed from the command line using vault path-help pki/venafi/default):

    Parameter Type Description Example
    access_token string Trust Protection Platform access token for the "hashicorp-vault-monitor-by-venafi" API Application tn1PwE1QTZorXmvnTowSyA==
    apikey string Venafi Cloud API key 142231b7-cvb0-412e-886b-6aeght0bc93d
    url string Venafi service URL, generally only applicable to Trust Protection Platform https://tpp.venafi.example
    refresh_token string Refresh Token for Venafi Platform. MGxV7DzNnclQi9CkJMCXCg==
    tpp_password string [DEPRECATED] Trust Protection Platform WebSDK password, use access_token if possible somePassword?
    tpp_user string [DEPRECATED] Trust Protection Platform WebSDK username, use access_token if possible admin
    trust_bundle_file string Text file containing trust anchor certificates in PEM format, generally required for Trust Protection Platform "/path/to/chain.pem"
    zone string Trust Protection Platform policy folder or Venafi Cloud Application Name and Issuing Template API Alias (e.g. "Business App\Enterprise CIT") to be used when no zone is specified by the venafi-policy testpolicy\\vault
  11. Configure a default Venafi policy that will only enable issuance of policy compliant certificate for all PKI roles in the path.

    Trust Protection Platform:

    $ vault write pki/venafi-policy/default venafi_secret="tpp" zone="DevOps\\Default"

    Venafi Cloud:

    $ vault write pki/venafi-policy/default \
        venafi_secret="cloud" zone="Business App\\Enterprise CIT"

    The following options are supported (note: this list can also be viewed from the command line using vault path-help pki/venafi-policy/default):

    Parameter Type Description Example
    auto_refresh_interval int Interval of Venafi policy update in seconds. Set to 0 to disable automatic refresh 0
    defaults_roles string List of roles where default values from Venafi will be applied tpp
    enforcement_roles string List of roles where Venafi policy enforcement is enabled tpp
    ext_key_usage string A comma-separated string of allowed extended key usages ServerAuth,ClientAuth
    import_roles string List of roles where issued certificates will be imported into the Venafi zone tpp
    import_timeout int Maximum wait in seconds before re-attempting certificate import from queue 15
    import_workers int Maximum number of concurrent threads to use for Venafi import 5
    zone string Trust Protection Platform policy folder or Venafi Cloud Application Name and Issuing Template API Alias (e.g. "Business App\Enterprise CIT") testpolicy\\vault
  12. Configure a role with which you want to use for enforcement policy.

    $ vault write pki/roles/venafi-role generate_lease=true ttl=1h max_ttl=1h allow_any_name=true
  13. Update the Venafi policy and add the created role to the defaults and enforcement lists.

    Trust Protection Platform:

    $ vault write pki/venafi-policy/default \
        defaults_roles="venafi-role" enforcement_roles="venafi-role" zone="DevOps\\Default"

    Venafi Cloud:

    $ vault write pki/venafi-policy/default \
        defaults_roles="venafi-role" enforcement_roles="venafi-role" \
        venafi_secret="cloud" zone="Business App\\Enterprise CIT"
  14. Create another Venafi policy for visibility. This will specify the zone where certificates issued by the Vault CA will be imported. Visibility is enabled at the policy level using the import_roles parameter.

    Trust Protection Platform:

    $ vault write pki/venafi-policy/visibility import_roles="venafi-role" zone="DevOps\\Vault Monitor"

    Venafi Cloud:

    $ vault write pki/venafi-policy/visibility \
        import_roles="venafi-role" venafi_secret="cloud" zone="Business App\\Enterprise CIT"


Venafi Policy limits the PKI role based on Venafi Platform policies or Venafi Cloud zones. Policy enforcement is configured using the special venafi-policy path which InfoSec teams can use to require compliance from a Vault CA. The Venafi monitoring plugin also places these requests in a queue that get imported back to Venafi Trust Protection Platform or Venafi Cloud.

  1. Generate a certificate by writing to the Vault CA and the Venafi role.

    $ vault write pki/issue/venafi-role common_name="" alt_names=","

    If the request is policy compliant, the request will return a certificate successfully. This certificate will also be placed in the visibility import queue to be uploaded to the Venafi Trust Protection Platform.

  2. Or sign a CSR from a file by writing to the /sign endpoint with the name of the role:

    $ vault write pki/sign/venafi-role csr=@test_example_com.csr


To upgrade to a new version of this plugin, review the release notes to understand the impact and then follow the standard procedure. The following command will trigger a plug reload globally:

$ vault write sys/plugins/reload/backend plugin=venafi-pki-monitor scope=global

Key          Value
---          -----
reload_id    d8180af4-01e0-d4d8-10ce-0daf69fbb6ed

⚠️ IMPORTANT: Every member of a Vault cluster must be running with the same version of the plugin to avoid inconsistent, unexpected, and possibly erroneous results.


Copyright © Venafi, Inc. All rights reserved.

This solution is licensed under the Mozilla Public License, Version 2.0. See LICENSE for the full license text.

Please direct questions/comments to


Venafi PKI Monitoring Secrets Engine for HashiCorp Vault that enforces security policy and provides certificate visiblity to the enterprise.





No packages published