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The Pros and Cons of On-Premise PKI

The Pros and Cons of On-Premise PKI

Many companies may face the challenge of picking between on-premise vs. cloud infrastructure. While some companies are wondering if they should jump into the cloud, others that are just starting up are thinking if it is worth investing their capital for on-premise networks.

In an on-premise environment, all the resources are accessed and managed within a company’s IT infrastructure. They are responsible for all the deployment-related processes and maintenance. An example of this would be when digital certificates are created and installed locally in the company’s server and workstations.

On-premise certificate authority means having your own team run your PKI. This has its own pros and cons that must be evaluated. Some companies may find this more practical depending on their requirements and needs. In this article, we will help you decide whether on-premise PKI is suitable for you.

Pros of on-premise PKI

  • Flexibility and control

    The issuance process is within your control, and you are not limited when accessing the cloud. On-premise can be more flexible in terms of customization based on the requirements and capacity of the business.

  • Self-reliant

    Since critical data are kept in-house, configuration changes can be done within your premises and on your schedule.

  • Security

    Companies that store sensitive information are required to have high-level security and privacy protocols that are met with an on-premise environment.

Cons of on-premise PKI

  • Hidden costs

    Aside from the capital investment in hardware, there are hidden costs of on-premise PKI such as software acquisition and maintenance, certificate lifecycle management (CLM), IT training, and backup and disaster recovery. In the long run, this may translate to diminished returns due to the overall cost incurred in-house.

  • Maintenance

    Enterprises that deploy software on premise are responsible for the ongoing costs of the server hardware, power consumption, and space.

  • Requires dedicated IT support

    On-premise requires a dedicated IT team round the clock (24x7) to support and manage possible risks and problems that may arise. They must be equipped with the knowledge and skills of today’s evolving PKI that is often difficult to outsource.

  • Data security must be maintained by the company

    For companies that operate under regulatory control such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for those under the health industry, it is imperative that they remain compliant and know where their data is at all times. Failing to comply and negligence may result in violations and heavy penalties, which is an issue that would otherwise not be present in a HIPAA compliant cloud environment.

  • Requires backup in case of data loss

    Without a backup system, data can be permanently lost. Moreover, if downtime occurs, it will be more costly and the recovery process more complex.

Mitigating the burden of on-premise PKI through Software as a Service (SaaS)

Utilizing on-premise PKI may be a daunting and difficult process for some companies and IT teams. However, implementing or maintaining an in-house PKI can still provide numerous benefits when used in conjunction with PKI SaaS.

Here are some of the benefits of on-premise PKI when used in conjunction with SaaS:

  • Straightforward implementation
  • Economical and requires smaller budget
  • Improved disaster recovery
  • Increased global accessibility
  • Off-loading PKI expertise
  • Eliminates technical constraints on operation
  • Public trust for CAs

If you prefer on-premise identity and access management, GlobalSign offers solutions that support on-premise deployments for enterprise PKI automation and management, digital signatures as well as transaction and identity validation.

It is easy for companies to integrate their PKI deployments into GlobalSign’s hosted PKI services designed for DevOps with our REST API or EST. DevOps who prefer to work on-premise can use this integration to host and manage certificates.

You can take care of your network’s authentication, access control, authorize, and encrypt with our tried and tested security solutions. Our ability to meet high-volume certification requirements for all endpoints including IoT, mobile devices, machines, servers, users, and applications & documents makes us the perfect choice for Internet of Everything (IoE) use cases.

The flexibility of integration is entirely up to you. Whether you decide to fully commit to on-premise PKI or prefer a combination of on-premise and software as a service (SaaS) implementation. Whichever it may be, we make it easier for our clients to secure their networks.

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