Language services encryption of data at rest

The Language services automatically encrypt your data when it is persisted to the cloud. The Language services encryption protects your data and helps you meet your organizational security and compliance commitments.

About Cognitive Services encryption

Data is encrypted and decrypted using FIPS 140-2 compliant 256-bit AES encryption. Encryption and decryption are transparent, meaning encryption and access are managed for you. Your data is secure by default and you don't need to modify your code or applications to take advantage of encryption.

About encryption key management

By default, your subscription uses Microsoft-managed encryption keys. There is also the option to manage your subscription with your own keys called customer-managed keys (CMK). CMK offers greater flexibility to create, rotate, disable, and revoke access controls. You can also audit the encryption keys used to protect your data.

Customer-managed keys with Azure Key Vault

There is also an option to manage your subscription with your own keys. Customer-managed keys (CMK), also known as Bring your own key (BYOK), offer greater flexibility to create, rotate, disable, and revoke access controls. You can also audit the encryption keys used to protect your data.

You must use Azure Key Vault to store your customer-managed keys. You can either create your own keys and store them in a key vault, or you can use the Azure Key Vault APIs to generate keys. The Cognitive Services resource and the key vault must be in the same region and in the same Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) tenant, but they can be in different subscriptions. For more information about Azure Key Vault, see What is Azure Key Vault?.

Customer-managed keys for Language services

To request the ability to use customer-managed keys, fill out and submit the Language service Customer-Managed Key Request Form. It will take approximately 3-5 business days to hear back on the status of your request. Depending on demand, you may be placed in a queue and approved as space becomes available. Once approved for using CMK with Language services, you'll need to create a new Language resource from the Azure portal.

Enable customer-managed keys

A new Cognitive Services resource is always encrypted using Microsoft-managed keys. It's not possible to enable customer-managed keys at the time that the resource is created. Customer-managed keys are stored in Azure Key Vault, and the key vault must be provisioned with access policies that grant key permissions to the managed identity that is associated with the Cognitive Services resource. The managed identity is available only after the resource is created using the Pricing Tier for CMK.

To learn how to use customer-managed keys with Azure Key Vault for Cognitive Services encryption, see:

Enabling customer managed keys will also enable a system assigned managed identity, a feature of Azure AD. Once the system assigned managed identity is enabled, this resource will be registered with Azure Active Directory. After being registered, the managed identity will be given access to the Key Vault selected during customer managed key setup. You can learn more about Managed Identities.


If you disable system assigned managed identities, access to the key vault will be removed and any data encrypted with the customer keys will no longer be accessible. Any features depended on this data will stop working.


Managed identities do not currently support cross-directory scenarios. When you configure customer-managed keys in the Azure portal, a managed identity is automatically assigned under the covers. If you subsequently move the subscription, resource group, or resource from one Azure AD directory to another, the managed identity associated with the resource is not transferred to the new tenant, so customer-managed keys may no longer work. For more information, see Transferring a subscription between Azure AD directories in FAQs and known issues with managed identities for Azure resources.

Store customer-managed keys in Azure Key Vault

To enable customer-managed keys, you must use an Azure Key Vault to store your keys. You must enable both the Soft Delete and Do Not Purge properties on the key vault.

Only RSA keys of size 2048 are supported with Cognitive Services encryption. For more information about keys, see Key Vault keys in About Azure Key Vault keys, secrets and certificates.

Rotate customer-managed keys

You can rotate a customer-managed key in Azure Key Vault according to your compliance policies. When the key is rotated, you must update the Cognitive Services resource to use the new key URI. To learn how to update the resource to use a new version of the key in the Azure portal, see the section titled Update the key version in Configure customer-managed keys for Cognitive Services by using the Azure portal.

Rotating the key does not trigger re-encryption of data in the resource. There is no further action required from the user.

Revoke access to customer-managed keys

To revoke access to customer-managed keys, use PowerShell or Azure CLI. For more information, see Azure Key Vault PowerShell or Azure Key Vault CLI. Revoking access effectively blocks access to all data in the Cognitive Services resource, as the encryption key is inaccessible by Cognitive Services.

Next steps