PKI, short for public key infrastructure, is crucial for the security of a business environment. It keeps your websites, systems, devices, servers, and networks secure by ensuring the integrity of data and users. And digital certificates are a vital aspect of PKI infrastructure. They help prevent security breaches. For them to do that without interruption, you need to manage their lifecycles effectively using a certificate lifecycle management system.
Before we delve into steps to avoid security breaches and how a certificate manager can help, let’s look at three PKI use cases.
PKI ensures secure communication over a network. It does that by tapping into digital certificates and public key cryptography, establishing trust between two entities. For example, between a website and a user’s browser or device.
With PKI, you can also eliminate the need for passwords. Instead of traditional email Ids and passwords, the PKI-based authentication technique uses digital certificates to validate the identity of users or devices. When a user or entity wants to access a secure service or server, they show their digital certificate to it. The latter then verifies the authenticity of the digital certificate’s signature using a public key. Once verified, the access is granted.
PKI allows you to secure your VPN connection as well. It does that by helping authenticate the VPN traffic.
In addition to the above three, PKI can be used for multiple other things, including securing the Internet of Things (IoT), securing web services, code signing, and encrypting emails and documents.
Digital certificates are essential for the verification of different entities and users. Issued by a trusted certificate authority (CA), these certificates, also known as security certificates, prevent unauthorized access. However, they will fail to do that if they have been compromised or expired. For example, credit agency Equifax faced a significant security breach, which affected 143 million people because of an expired certificate.
As they are valid for a certain period, digital certificates must be renewed before their validity period ends. Also, a digital certificate may get revoked or compromised. When that happens, your website, server, devices, or networks become vulnerable to attacks from malicious elements. To prevent that, you must tap into PKI management tools such as a certificate lifecycle management system.
Automates the Process: The certificate lifecycle management system automates the entire lifecycle of digital certificates – from issuance to renewal. You do no need to follow the time-consuming, error-ridden manual way to renew a certificate or detect its issue. Automation ensures that it is renewed before it expires and problems are solved before malicious elements notice them and breach security.
Offers Visibility into All Certificates: With this system, you also get complete visibility into all your certificates. That shows you more control over them, which enables you to avoid certificate-related outages.
PKI management tools are essential to confirm that digital certificates are doing their work effectively. With a PKI manager, such as Certificate Manager offered by Sectigo, you can automatically manage the lifecycle of all your digital certificates from one interface. It streamlines the process and prevents interruption and downtime for certificate-related reasons.