Rotating Secrets

This topic discusses managing scheduled rotation notifications on secrets through Secret Manager.

Overview

Secret Manager supports rotation schedules on secrets. Secret Manager sends messages to Pub/Sub topics configured on the secret based on the provided rotation frequency and rotation time. This guide shows you how to set up one-time or periodic schedules on your secrets to receive notifications when it's time to rotate the secret.

Periodically rotating secrets helps to:

  • Limit the duration a leaked secret remains valid and exposes a vulnerability.
  • Continuously exercise rotation flow to ensure process reliability.

How does it work?

Secret Manager sends a SECRET_ROTATE message to the Pub/Sub topics configured on the secret at the secret's next_rotation_time. This timestamp is set in one of two ways:

  1. Provided by the user when creating or updating the secret.

  2. If a rotation_period is provided, Secret Manager will send a SECRET_ROTATE message after the elapsed rotation_period. next_rotation_time will be updated to reflect the new next rotation time.

You must configure a Pub/Sub subscriber to receive and act on the SECRET_ROTATE messages. If necessary, implement additional workflows such as adding a new secret version and triggering application deploys.

Notes

  • Managing rotation policies is only available in the Secret Manager v1 API and gcloud command-line tool.

  • Pub/Sub topics must be configured on the secret. To learn how to create a Pub/Sub topic and subscription, see the Pub/Sub quickstart. To learn how to configure topics on a secret, see Event Notifications for Secret Manager.

  • next_rotation_time must be set if rotation_period is specified.

  • next_rotation_time cannot be set to less than five minutes in the future. The rotation_period cannot be less than one hour long. For timestamp formatting guidance, see the gcloud datetime reference.

  • Delivery Errors: Secret Manager will automatically retry failed attempts to send a message. Secret Manager does not make guarantees regarding delivery should there be misconfiguration regarding secret or topic config, permissions, or quotas.

  • In-flight rotations must complete before another rotation can be started in order to prevent concurrent rotations from yielding unexpected behavior. Notifications are considered in-flight while Secret Manager is attempting to send the message to Pub/Sub. Scheduled rotations are skipped if there is an in-flight rotation. Secret Manager will automatically retry failed attempts to send a message for up to seven days, after which the rotation is aborted.

Examples

Configuring rotation on a secret

Create a secret with a next_rotation_time that rotates every 30 days starting on June 1st, 2021:

gcloud

$ gcloud secrets create secret-id \
    --replication-policy "automatic" \
    --next-rotation-time="2021-06-01T09:00:00Z" \
    --rotation-period="2592000s" \
    --topics=full-topic-name"

API

 curl "https://secretmanager.googleapis.com/v1/projects/${PROJECT_ID}/secrets?secretId=${SECRET_ID}" \
  --request "POST" \
  --header "Content-Type: application/json" \
  --header "Authorization: Bearer $(gcloud auth print-access-token)" \
  --data-binary @- <<EOF
{
"replication":{
  "automatic":{}
},
"topics": {"name" : "projects/${PROJECT_ID}/topics/${TOPIC_NAME}"},
"rotation":
  {
    "next_rotation_time": "2021-06-01T09:00:00Z",
    "rotation_period" : '2592000s'
  },
}
EOF

Updating a secret's rotation settings

Valid updateMask paths for rotation include: rotation, rotation.next_rotation_time, rotation.rotation_period.

To update a secret's next_rotation_time:

gcloud

$ gcloud secrets update secret-id \
  --next-rotation-time "2022-06-01T09:00:00Z"

API

  $ curl "https://secretmanager.googleapis.com/v1/projects/${PROJECT_ID}/secrets/${SECRET_ID}?updateMask=rotation.next_rotation_time" \
      --request "PATCH" \
      --header "Authorization: Bearer $(gcloud auth print-access-token)" \
      --header "Content-Type: application/json" \
      --data-binary @- <<EOF
  {
    "next_rotation_time": "2040-06-01T09:00:00Z"
  }
  EOF

Disable rotation on a secret

To remove a secret's next_rotation_time:

gcloud

$ gcloud secrets update secret-id \
  --remove-next-rotation-time

API

  $ curl "https://secretmanager.googleapis.com/v1/projects/${PROJECT_ID}/secrets/${SECRET_ID}?updateMask=rotation.next_rotation_time" \
      --request "PATCH" \
      --header "Authorization: Bearer $(gcloud auth print-access-token)" \
      --header "Content-Type: application/json" \
      --data-binary @- <<EOF
  {}
  EOF

To remove a secret's rotation schedule. This removes both the next_rotation_time and rotation_period:

gcloud

$ gcloud secrets update secret-id \
  --remove-rotation-schedule

API

  $ curl "https://secretmanager.googleapis.com/v1/projects/${PROJECT_ID}/secrets/${SECRET_ID}?updateMask=rotation" \
      --request "PATCH" \
      --header "Authorization: Bearer $(gcloud auth print-access-token)" \
      --header "Content-Type: application/json" \
      --data-binary @- <<EOF
  {}
  EOF