Unless you’ve been too busy for tv shows, you have heard of Squid Game, the Korean dystopian drama on Netflix that has got the world hooked and obsessed. The smashing hit series is about a group of people desperate to survive, coming together to play a set of deadly games for a swelling pot of money. The plot follows characters playing death-defying games, their individual need to survive, and the many twisted routes they take to beat their opponents. If you’re a cybersecurity professional or an enthusiast watching the show, you cannot help but notice how the wild premise of Squid Game oddly mirrors the current state of cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity, too, is a risky game today, full of twists and faceless threats at every step. Organizations must constantly stay alert, prepare for any surprises, and navigate challenges tactfully to keep their businesses safe. The digital realm is inherently insecure, and the only way to survive is to invest in an agile and resilient cybersecurity model with the right set of tools.
Digital identities or digital certificates are used by millions of organizations worldwide to authenticate themselves and protect their data and communication online. From corporate websites to cloud applications to infrastructure devices, such as servers and network firewalls, digital certificates protecting several enterprise use cases today. The fool-proof authentication provided by digital certificates helps enable secure access and build a strong foundation for digital security.
Digital certificates have been in use for years now, and there is a growing focus on using them as key security enforcers going forward. Yet, many organizations are unable to make the best use of them as they are bogged down by certificate management issues. Poor visibility, tedious manual effort, and inconsistent policy enforcement are some of the many problems that complicate certificate management.
Digital certificates, when not managed efficiently, can turn into security weak links rather than enforcers. So, it is important for organizations to reassess their certificate lifecycle management system and streamline it for robust security.
If you are an organization looking to simplify certificate lifecycle management, here are our four key recommendations to achieve that:
- Get holistic visibility of the certificate infrastructure
Having complete visibility of all the certificates is paramount for efficient certificate management. Search your environment for certificates regularly and ensure all the discovered certificates are added to and maintained in an inventory. The inventory must capture all necessary information on the certificate type, expiration date, root/intermediate certificate, owner, and deployment location. Group certificates and keys based on specific business use-cases to streamline operations. Track the expiration dates of your certificates judiciously and renew certificates at least 30 days in advance. After renewal, verify that the expired certificate is not active and remove it from the system.
- Use crypto-analytics
Encryption techniques determine the security of the infrastructure. A certificate
using a weak or a deprecated algorithm such as SHA-1 is a tempting invitation for hackers. Which is why you must continuously analyze certificates for crypto standards such as key size, cipher strength, and allowed protocol versions. Insights into crypto standards helps track certificates that use weak or outdated crypto standards and upgrade them to the latest standards in time to avoid security and compliance issues. Since cybercriminals are refining their attack tactics to break cryptographic techniques, being crypto-agile is a necessity for organizations today.
- Automate certificate lifecycle management
Digital certificates will proliferate as new business use cases arise. Manually managing these certificates on a spreadsheet can result in mistakes and increased overhead. The solution is to use an automated certificate management solution to discover, issue, renew, revoke, and install certificates. Investing in a certificate lifecycle automation solution helps automate the entire process of certificate lifecycle management, right from issuance/renewal of certificates to provisioning/binding of certificates to the associated application. In doing so, automation eliminates the need for manual effort in certificate management as well as the possibility of human errors, thereby preventing application outages and security breaches.
- Enforce a strong public key infrastructure (PKI) policy
Defining and enforcing a uniform PKI policy helps standardize and control certificate processes. It compels your teams to adhere to appropriate cryptographic policies for keys and certificates, which improves auditing and compliance. It also helps apply granular, multi-layer access control to regulate and audit access to certificates and keys. Doing so helps eliminate rogue, unknown, and non-compliant certificates, which bolsters the overall security posture of an organization.
- Follow secure key management practices
The private key is the gateway to critical information. Any compromise of the private key will instantly expose valuable business information to the internet and risk security breaches. To avoid private key theft, you must choose solutions that leverage vaults and HSMs for key storage and circulation. Using automation workflows to push certificates and keys to multiple devices minimizes human contact with individual keys and helps prevent encryption key compromise.
As you embark on your path towards digital transformation, make sure you build a robust and efficient certificate management system to mitigate security risks and stay ahead of the game.
Use the right automation tool that will help accelerate your journey towards digital transformation.