What is Certificate Management? Before we begin, we need to understand the concept of Certificate Management. The certificate that we are referring to are X.509 Certificate (RFC 5280), which are issued from a Trusted Certificate Authority (CA) provisioned to an end entity. All in all, it is also referred to Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).
Referencing from Venafi (source: https://www.venafi.com/education-center/tls/what-is-certificate-management): Certificate management is the act of monitoring, facilitating, and executing digital x.509 certificates.
Certificate management catches faulty, misconfigured, and expired certificates, then performs the following processes:
A good certificate management system is capable of performing these actions for an entire certificate infrastructure, automatically and in real-time, to prevent downtime and outages.
Why should organization care about Certificate Management?
Many years ago, certificates are usually used in establishing a secured connection to a website to ensure data security over the network (TLS) and at the same time provide details of the corporate name of the website owner (i.e authenticates a website’s identity).
In today’s world, certificates are issued to almost every technology entity, ranging from your personal computer to even your washing machine (IoT), X.509 certificates are everywhere. Because of this, organizations are having huge issues from operations to securities.
- Unable to keep track of certificate expiry. Manual keeping track of certificate status, causing outages of services
- Misuse of certificates
- Organization has no way to prevent system/application owner to use self-signed certificate or certs from unauthorized CA
- Unable to keep track and ensure that system/application owner are using algorithm conformant to company’s security policies
- Manual process of certificate request
- Employees have no idea how to do it, request from who and how to generate request.
All digital certificates have a finite lifespan and are no longer recognized as valid upon expiration. It is extremely difficult to manage the life cycle from tools used currently, example, Excel, calendar and customized email scripts.
With that, organization must be aware that:
No Certificate = No Authentication = No Service
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