The inevitable automation and management of certificates and trust services

With the evolution of IoT, 5G networks and new technologies, their number and variability are growing exponentially. Digital certificates provide the necessary trust and security in communication, represent identity in the virtual world, but also require proper care and management.

Companies often struggle with service outages related to certificate expirations, high effort related to certificate management, and insufficient security related to misissued or untrusted certificates. All of this has an impact on our privacy and represents a high financial and reputational risk for companies.

The is a need to build and maintain a modern and future-proof PKI while keeping the focus on the business goals and within the available resources.

PKI is becoming an integral and critical part of systems and services

Information technology is developing dynamically and the number of applications relying on digital certificates is growing. Public key infrastructure (PKI) is becoming one of the critical components of the functioning of the entire company.

New platforms, but also electronic services, are built on virtual trust, which stands and falls on certificates. Traditional methods of certificate management, where a specialist manually generates a request and communicates with an internal or external certification authority, are no longer sustainable and efficient.

In the case of inconsistent or non-existent certificate management rules, specialists can always issue and document the use of certificates in a different way and introduce inconsistencies into the system of trusted services, which as a result can lead to loss of trust and compromise.

Other problems that institutions may face are the unclear responsibility of individual departments for managing certificates and low flexibility if, for example, it is necessary to replace a large number of certificates operated within the network.

And last but not least, it is necessary to mention that with the growing number of certificates and the need to manage them, the number of specialists with the necessary skills does not grow at the same pace.

There is a need to automate the processes associated with managing the lifecycle of certificates

As the need grows, the supply comes. Certificate management can be automated with already existing tools, such as OpenSSL, Kubernetes, Ansible, etc. However, our goal is to achieve consistency, agility, and compliance. And this is not easy in the case of a hybrid environment in which each department and each application has different requirements.

What are the prerequisites for successful certificate management and what we should focus on?

  • Easy to integrate and use

    Time is one of the most important assets that we cannot buy. Easy and timely implementation and integration of automated certificate management is therefore a high priority when designing the system and searching for suitable tools. The pace of developing technology should not be an obstacle. The system should meet the prerequisites for easy integration of the technology and use through standard protocols such as ACME, SCEP/EST, REST API.

  • Visibility and awareness

    For the effective management of trusted services, it is necessary to get an overview of all the certificates that are present in the infrastructure. The certificate inventory provides a unified overview of found and managed certificates, including their validation and compliance with internal policies or standards. The status of the certificate changes over time, tracking and monitoring the status is one of the important tools to get an overview and prevent problems in time.

  • Agility and automation

    How quickly can we react to potential threats? What happens if a CA is compromised? How to replace algorithms that are not safe? Agility is undoubtedly an important element for effective certificate management. The ability to change the certification authority or certificate parameters in an automated way is a great advantage and saving for any infrastructure.

CZERTAINLY – opens-source platform for managing the life cycle of certificates

The CZERTAINLY platform is one example of how effective trust and certificate management can be achieved across a hybrid environment. CZERTAINLY is a certificate management platform that emphasizes the connection of information technologies in a simple and user-friendly way while maintaining trustworthiness and security.

In addition to that, the CZERTAINLY platform is open and aims to promote safety in the virtual world that affects each of us today.

Find out more about the CZERTAINLY on https://docs.czertainly.com/docs.

Get more information about the CZERTAINLY

CZERTAINLY is an open-source platform for effective and efficient certificate lifecycle management for companies of any size and individuals. One of its goals is to provide an easy and affordable way to secure digital communication and support information security in more and more connected world.

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