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Digital Certificate Management for Protection of Machine Identities

Currently, it is almost impossible to mention an IT issue that is not connected to digital transformation. The growth of IoT devices, Industry 4.0, Cloud, and DevOps are some of the hottest topics on the market, and they have one thing in common: they all involve Digital Certificate Management.  In this article produced with GlobalSign, we explain the concepts associated with digital certificates, as well as the benefits of using a certificate management solution. We will introduce senhasegura Certificate Management and also the advantages of its implementation.

In recent years, the number of connected devices has skyrocketed. Since this expansion, the use cases for digital certificates have grown too: in addition to web servers, digital certificates are also used to protect IoT devices, cloud, Industry 4.0, and DevOps environments. The total number of connected devices is estimated to reach 20 billion, many of them using certificates. The expectation is that with the increase in the number of these devices and the need to address the aspects of machine identity, volume,  issuance speed, and diversity of these digital certificates will increase the complexity of certificate management.

But what are digital certificates and what are their operating dynamics?

As the combination of user and password, biometrics, and MFA, a digital certificate is a kind of electronic “password” that allows a person, organization, or device to exchange data securely on the internet by using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). A digital certificate is used to establish an encrypted link between a public key and the entity that owns the key, and it stores data such as the identification of the certificate; holding entity, metadata, and the digital signature of the public key. It is worth mentioning that Digital Certificates are also called Public Key Certificates or Identity Certificates

What are the risks of inadequate management of digital certificates?

Some of the risks associated with inadequate management of digital certificates include decentralized certificates, which prevents administrators from viewing the certificates installed in the environment and increases the risk of outtages due to certificate expiration, which leads to a loss of trust from these clients, in addition to the loss of revenue. 

What does Gartner say?

As defined by Gartner in its “Technology Insight for X.509 Certificate Management” report, digital certificate management solutions offer organizations the ability to discover, identify, track, notify, and renew and audit the installation of digital certificates. This type of solution also allows organizations to have viewing, automation, and management capabilities.

According to Gartner, security leaders are typically unaware of the scope or status of digital certificates in their environment until some unavailability or data leak caused by errors in certificates. In the same way the scope of digital certificates reaches devices, people, and things, security leaders are recommended to establish security protocols and, if required, boost the tools available to reduce negative impacts. 

What do I need to install digital certificates?

In many organizations, some requirements for managing digital certificates include: support for multiple-certificate authorities, certificate discovery and certificate lifecycle management, as well as alerts and reports. 

Gartner estimates that, by 2022, organizations that implement digital certificate management solutions will experience 90% fewer problems related to certificates. It is estimated that those responsible for Information Security will reduce the time spent managing these problems by half when compared to organizations that use spreadsheet-based methods. Other important data brought by the report indicate that cybersecurity officers who are able to reposition digital certificate management in a business case can improve the success of the digital certificate management program by up to 60%, compared to the less than 10% current success rate. In this context, senhasegura Certificate Management was developed to address the risks associated with certificate management

How can we help?

The functionalities offered by senhasegura Certificate Management allow complete control of the digital certificates’ lifecycle with the automatic renewal and publication of certificates. It is possible to automatically configure the periodic renewal, which prevents them from reaching their expiration date. Digital certificate management made possible by senhasegura includes the automated and recurring discovery of certificates within the network. The certificates found during the Scan Discovery process are read and assessed, allowing the graphic visualization of any risk. Senhasegura also offers the use of pre-registered organizations, reducing errors in the creation of certificates, in addition to control over the expiration dates of certificates being managed. It is possible to configure the solution to, for example, automatically send certificate alerts at configurable periods, and to specific teams. 

Finally, the reporting and dashboard features allow graphical visualization of the status of all certificates, including the identification of which ones use encryptions not in compliance with the organization’s security policies.

Therefore, senhasegura Certificate Management allows one to reduce unavailability due to certificate expiration or human errors during publication, in addition to automating the management of the certificate’s lifecycle. The senhasegura Certificate Management APIs allow complete integration with other organization’s solutions, as well as an increase in the security level of applications with trusted certificates, respecting the organization’s prerequisites and security policies.


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