Problems with some Amazon Web Services cloud servers caused slow loading or failures for significant chunks of the internet. Amazon’s widespread network of data centers powers many of the online interactions. The outage brought business operations to a halt at several Amazon warehouses. This resulted in delayed package deliveries, and delivery trucks had no option but to wait in distribution areas for hours.
With the holiday season upon us, it is an extremely busy and important time for online retailers. Online retailers should deploy additional servers and systems during these busy times to manage the huge surge in volumes.
Additional servers and systems mean a significant increase in machine identities or digital certificates. Digital certificates are the way to establish and extend trust during communication. These certificates are used as identities for machines and are provided by certificate authorities (CAs).
Online retailers now manage thousands of certificates regularly in their network infrastructure. These certificates must be monitored, tracked, and renewed on time to avoid outages. However, the maintenance required is not the only challenge – security is also a significant concern.
Why do retailers need to protect digital identities?
Having complete, centralized visibility of certificates helps proactively monitor certificates for expiry and vulnerabilities in a distributed architecture. By renewing certificates on time and fixing certificate issues as soon as they appear, enterprises can eliminate certificate expirations and the resulting application outages.
Along with visibility, gaining actionable insights into crypto standards used in certificates and keys can also help enterprises regularly track certificates that use outdated or deprecated protocols and upgrade them to new protocols to avoid non-compliant certificate issues.
Safeguard customer data privacy
Customers would never want their personal information to fall into the wrong hands. Retailers are responsible for ensuring the security and privacy of customers by protecting digital certificates. This will help secure transactions by allowing remote access to point-of-sale devices and other applications across retail branches.
When customers visit your applications, digital certificates help determine their first impression of your enterprise. They often dictate the relationship and level of trust they will have with you going forward.
Personal and financial information in retail transactions is always a target for cybercriminals. With computers doubling in speed every two years, hackers are closer to completely spoofing your digital certificates every year through brute force cryptographic attacks alone. So, even today’s most robust encryption standards will be considered weak and insufficient in only a few years.
Infinitely valid certificates also leave you susceptible to theft. Hackers can gain access to your digital certificates via a third-party application’s vulnerabilities, invalidating your stolen certificates the moment they expire. The financial damage in this scenario compared to one where a certificate expires, causing an outage is significantly greater.
Given these and other security concerns, it is crucial to enforce regular certificate expirations to protect the infrastructure with the strongest encryption available. Invest in an efficient certificate management solution to ensure on-time renewals to prevent all expiry-related outages.
Secure key management
Because of certificates and keys, devices in the digital environment can communicate securely with one another. A private key, in particular, is the gateway to critical information. Any private key compromise will instantly expose valuable business information to the internet and risk security breaches. To avoid private key theft, enterprises must choose solutions that leverage vaults and hardware security models (HSM) 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 compromises.
With increasingly complex certificate infrastructures and equally widening skill gaps, end-to-end automation can simplify and streamline certificate management dramatically. With minimal training, anyone can translate their complex business use-cases into easy-to-use automation workflows that orchestrate the entire certificate lifecycle management.
All certificate processes such as discovery, monitoring, renewal, enrollment, revocation, and provisioning can be carried out seamlessly and efficiently with automation, eliminating the need for dedicated resources for certificate management.
Adherence to compliance standards
Retailers need to comply with regulations like the GDPR (general data protection regulation), WebAuthn standard (W3C), PSD2 (payment services directive). Your business might be required to adhere to commonly accepted standards (for instance, replacing certificates periodically, regardless of expiry). In that case, you will need a tool to automate this process and perform periodic checks to ensure that you don’t end up paying hefty fines for non-compliance.
Spread festive cheer instead of fear
For a secure and seamless omnichannel customer experience, retailers should invest in an automated certificate lifecycle management solution that helps with discovery, renewal, revocation, enrolment, and reporting. Using a next-gen certificate lifecycle management solution like AppViewX CERT+ keeps your enterprise safe from certificate outages and helps you stay cryptographically agile.
AppViewX revolutionizes how NetOps and DevSecOps teams deliver machine identity management solutions to enterprise IT. The AppViewX Platform is purpose-built for orchestrating and governing digital identities – digital certificates and keys – of machines – devices, workloads, applications, containers, and the Internet of Things.
The AppViewX Platform quickly and easily translates business requirements into automation workflows that improve agility, enforce compliance, eliminate errors, and reduce cost. The platform works hand in glove with AppViewX CERT+, providing a more comprehensive approach for enterprises to scale their machine identity management.