Have you backed up your keys lately?

Did you know that you already have a Server Master Key (SMK) generated for your system? That’s right – while a Database Master Key (DMK) is generated when you encrypt a certificate or Asymmetric Key with code, the Server Master Key is generated automatically when you start the Instance.

So you should back all of those keys up periodically, and then store that backup AWAY from the server itself.

There are two reasons for this – first, if the drives get stolen and you’re storing the key backup there, well, that should be obvious why that’s bad. Second, you want to protect the keys in case the system is destroyed or you can’t recover the drives. You will need those keys if you have encrypted anything in the database to get the data back.

More here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb964742.aspx 

No, the standard Maintenance Wizards don’t get this data. And no, I haven’t seen it addressed in most of the maintenance scripts out there anyway – sometimes for good reason, but this means you need to take care of it manually, and then document where you put that backup.

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