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GCP Secret Manager vs HashiCorp Vault [2024]

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With companies like Mercedes Benz, Astrazeneca, and Samsung undergoing major credential leaks, secret management is a key concern for the majority of global enterprises.

Three prominent solutions in the realm of secrets management are GCP Secret Manager, HashiCorp Vault, and Infisical. All three platforms offer robust solutions for securing, managing, and monitoring access to secrets across various environments. However, their approaches, features, and suitability for different organizational needs can vary.

So how are they different? If you remember nothing else, remember these three points:

  1. HashiCorp Vault is a source-available secret management tool. It's designed to handle multiple backends, provides secure secret storage, and tightly controls access to secrets in dynamic, multi-cloud or on-premises environments. At the same time, it might be too advanced and expensive for most developers' needs.
  2. GCP Secret Manager is a native secret management solution that integrates well with GCP ecosystem of tools. Beyond that, its capabilites are fairly limited in terms of automated secret rotation, granular access controls, etc.
  3. Infisical is a robust infrastructure security platform that provides both cloud-managed and self-hosted options. By providing automatic rotation templates, stringent access control mechanisms, and a wide range of infrastructure integrations, Infisical significantly enhances security posture and operational efficiency of some of the largest organizations in the world. It is easy to get started and scales well in advanced enterprise use cases.

In this post, we will cover these differences in more detail, comparing features, pricing, integrations, and frequently asked questions about HashiCorp Vault, GCP Secret Manager, and Infisical.

Comparing HashiCorp Vault, GCP Secret Manager, and Infisical

1. Platform

HashiCorp Vault comes in two modes: self-hosted (self-managed) and HCP Cloud (managed). Both of these hosting options modes are available in Infisical, while GCP Secret Manager is only available as a managed Cloud-based solution.

HashiCorp Vault is by default an API-first tool. It is designed to be automated, which implies that most of its features are available through the API and CLI formats. GCP Secret Manager works in a similar manner but with more limited API and CLI capabilities, and more advanced SDKs. At the same time, Infisical, on top of API and CLI, focuses more on developer experience – providing a self-serve dashboard UI and a range of officially-developed SDKs for the most common language (HashiCorp is only able to offer the official Go SDK).

HashiCorp Vault and Infisical both provide advanced functionality around secret rotation and dynamic secret generation. Such rotation templates are mostly available for databases (e.g., MySQL, Postgres) and popular developer services (e.g., Sendgrid). On the other hand, GCP Secret Manager does not have support for automated rotation templates, custom rotation logic, or scripting.

FeatureInfisicalHashiCorp VaultGCP Secret Manager
Open source
Dashboard UILimitedLimited
SDKs❌ (Limited)
Secrets Rotation
Dynamic Secrets

2. Pricing

HashiCorp Vault Enterprise is generally known for high pricing of its products. Depending on the infrastructure setup of a particular organization, client-based pricing can scale significantly and unexpectedly. Identity-based pricing has the advantage of being more controllable (every identity may include multiple clients within itself).

GCP Secret Manager, on the other hand, prices its product per secret version per location. Additional secret operations also cost more which may lead to unexpected bills.

FeatureInfisicalHashiCorp VaultGCP Secret Manager
PricingIdentity-based pricingClient-based pricingVersion-based pricing
Free plan🟡 (only 6 secret versions available for free)
Self-serve Upgrade✅ (need to talk to sales)

3. Integrations and Ecosystem

HashiCorp Vault provides a rich set of APIs and a vast ecosystem of integrations, allowing it to fit into any part of the application lifecycle. Certain integrations are community-developed and not maintained by HashiCorp – making their quality less predictable.

GCP Secret Manager has a largely limited set of integrations, and replied on the use of external (open source) tools to integrate itself across infrastructure.

Infisical, on the other hand, has its own set of integrations with leading developer and infrastructure tools developed by the Infisical team in-house from the first principles.

FeatureInfisicalHashiCorp VaultGCP Secret Manager
Infrastructure tools (e.g., Kubernetes, Terraform)🟡
Syncing Integrations (e.g., AWS Secrets Manager, Vercel)🟡
Developer tools (e.g., GitHub, GitLab)
CI/CD (e.g., Jenkins)
Databases (e.g., Dynamic Secrets)

4. User experience and Ease of use

The main problem with Vault still remains the difficulty of its implementation in the open source version; and things don't get much simpler in HashiCorp Vault's costly Enterprise edition. Vault is mostly operatable through its API with its UI being largely limited in functionality.

On the contrary, GCP Secret Manager is much easier to operate but is not able to work with many advanced enterprise use cases – largely being a simple key-value storage.

Infisical strikes the perfect balance with regards to satisfying complex engineering use cases and providing a simple developer-first experience.

5. Security and Compliance

HashiCorp Vault, GCP Secret Manager, and Infisical each offer robust security and compliance features, though they cater to different needs. HashiCorp Vault provides a comprehensive security model, including strong encryption, fine-grained access control, and extensive audit logging; albeit missing certain modern developer-docused functionalities.

Infisical enables seamless and secure secret management with military-grade encryption, role-based access control, and detailed audit logs, ensuring top-tier security with ease of use. Infisical also heaviliy focuses on Security Shift Left and enables developers with various workflows to manage secrets (e.g., Approval Workflows).

GCP Secret Manager relies primarily on Google Cloud IAM for access control and Stackdriver for logging – both of which are less granular than Vault's and Infisical's alternatives. Finally, GCP Secret Manager encrypts data at rest using Google-managed encryption keys.

All three solutions support key compliance standards like SOC 2, making them reliable choices for secure and compliant secret management.

FeatureInfisicalHashiCorp VaultGCP Secret Manager
Audit Logs
Access Controls
Version History
Audit Logs
SAML SSO + SCIMPro or EnterpriseEnterprise❌ (no direct support)
HSM Integration
Just-in-time Access
Access Requests
Approval Workflows

6. Support

HashiCorp Vault relies on a large community with shared knowledge based. Enterprise-grade support is also available depending on customers' requirements.

GCP Secret Manager provides the same level if support as Google Cloud Platform – which could be convenient if your organization is already heavily utilizing Google Cloud.

Infisical is built on top of one of the largest open source projects on GitHub which created a large developer community among Infisical's products. This community is actively helping each other with any questions that arise on Infisical's forum and Slack channel. Enterprise and priority suppport is also available for customers who need it.


Both GCP Secret Managaer and Hashicorp Vault offer good solutions for managing secrets and sensitive data for certain use cases. Even though they have their own challenges, the choice between the two often boils down to specific organizational needs, infrastructure, and personal preference.

  • GCP Secret Manager is a great option if you are heavily invested in the GCP ecosystem and need a managed service for secrets management. It is likely a better fit for younger companies, and you may run into certain challanges depending on how complex your infrastructure is.

  • On the other hand, if you're looking for a highly-customizable solution that integrates into a multi-cloud environment even if it comes with a certain maintenance overhead, Hashicorp Vault could be the way to go.

  • Finally, in case your organization is looking for a developer-friendly solution with low maintenance overhead that can be integrated seamlessly across all of your technology stack and systems – Infisical may be the right choice for you.

In the end, a thorough evaluation aligned with organizational security policies, compliance requirements, and infrastructure needs will guide you to the right choice. Both platforms, together with Infisical, have their strengths and can significantly bolster your secrets management practices and organization-wide security posture.

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