How to select a cryptographic service provider

Written by steve mcdonnell Google
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How to select a cryptographic service provider
A cryptographic service provider encrypts data on the network. (computer security concept - usb cable and padlock isolated image by dinostock from

A cryptographic service provider (CSP) is software that uses cryptography to authenticate, encode and encrypt data between a Web server and the client. Microsoft Windows Server allows you to select a cryptographic service provider (CSP) during the set-up of a certification authority (CA), and the Microsoft Cryptographic API (Crypto API) allows you to use the same methods to access each CSP you select.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Click "Start - Control Panel - Add/Remove Programs - Add/Remove Windows Components." Click "Certificate Services" and "Next."

  2. 2

    In the Configure Cryptography wizard, select "Stand-alone root CA" on the "Certification Authority Types" page. Check the "Advanced Options" box and click "Next."

  3. 3

    In the advanced options, on the "Public and Private Key Pair" page, select your CSP, for example Microsoft RSA SChannel Cryptographic Provider. Enter the "key character length" and make your selection on "Select the hash algorithm for signing certificates issued by this CA." If you want to require the administrator to type in a password on every cryptographic action, select "Use strong private key protection features provided by the CSP."

  4. 4

    Complete the information on the "CA Identifying Information" page and click "Next." Select the default location on the "Data Storage Location" page and click "Next." Click "Finish" to complete the set-up of the certificate authority.

Tips and warnings

  • CSP's that have a "#" in the name are Cryptography Next Generation (CNG) providers and implement multiple asymmetric algorithms.

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