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What is a Certificate Inventory Tool?

What is a Certificate Inventory Tool?

Managing multiple certificates can sometimes be a challenge, especially for companies managing a high-volume of certificates.

Since certificates should adhere to the latest security standards, this means that certificates must have expirations. However, not all of us routinely track and monitor when these certificates expire, especially at an organizational level where multiple certificates are used.

This is where Certificate Inventory Tool, also called CIT, plays a great role. In this article, we will discuss the importance of certificate management and how CIT helps manage SSL certificates.

Digital Certificate Lifecycle

To give you an idea of how certificates and keys operate throughout their lifecycle process, we’ll first discuss the stages in the digital certificate lifecycle.

  • Certificate Enrollment – this stage is where a request is sent to a Certificate Authority (CA) to issue a certificate.
  • Certificate Issuance – the CA checks the information on the request and verifies the legitimacy of the requestor before issuing a certificate
  • Certificate Validation – the CA provides the status of the certificate throughout its validity, and the CA should also have a good standing or “trusted” role.
  • Certificate Revocation – certificates that are still valid but considered not able to provide security. Either due to old standards, or if it has been compromised, or simply not needed, the owner can revoke the certificate to immediately end the certificate’s validity.
  • Certificate Renewal – certificates can be renewed when they reach their expiration date. Users also have the option to generate new public and private keys.

Certificate Management

Why is Certificate Management Important?

Since certificates have expiration dates, they need to be monitored and replaced to prevent the possibility of cybersecurity risks and outages. The risks include online theft and man-in-the-middle attacks, allowing hackers to exploit security vulnerabilities.

This is the case with Microsoft Exchange last year where the admin portal was inaccessible due to an expired SSL certificate. When an SSL certificate expires, it will prompt a browser error. When a user visits your website, they will see a warning that their connection is not secure and will prevent them from getting to your website.

General_CIT_Blog_Assets_Not-Secured_Website_2022_03_08.jpgExample of a website without a valid SSL certificate

Though website visitors have the option to proceed with your website, most users will just leave the site in fear of security threats. An expired SSL certificate does not only open potential vulnerabilities for hackers to penetrate but can also negatively impact your company’s trustworthiness.

General_CIT_Blog_Assets_Not-Secured_2_Website_2022_03_08.jpgExample of a website without a valid SSL certificate

Outages caused by certificate expiration are especially frustrating for e-commerce and businesses that interact with their clients, customers, and partners through their website daily.

Big corporations are mostly impacted by expired certificates, causing them to lose thousands—even millions—of dollars due to undetected certificate expiration. One such incident was the Equifax data breach that went unnoticed for 76 days. By the time they had detected the expired certificate, they had already lost millions in revenue.

SSL Certificate Management

Since corporate networks share a lot of private and sensitive data, being able to manage SSL certificates that are used to secure endpoints has become more crucial.

In today’s business landscape, a lot of businesses are moving towards digital transformation and digitization. SSL certificates are used to protect websites from being intercepted by a third party. Without an SSL certificate, hackers can easily gain access to the information being sent or stored on a website such as credit card details and personal information.

Certificate Inventory Tool

To combat these certificate-related problems, a certificate inventory tool (CIT) is what most companies need in their arsenals. Having a CIT helps companies locate, monitor, manage, and track the expiration dates of all SSL certificates within their network regardless of the issuing Certificate Authority (CA).

Why is CIT Important?

Why do businesses need CIT?

Businesses need CIT because manual monitoring is complicated and time consuming. With many businesses operating and using multiple certificates, it is challenging to keep track of them at once.

A good certificate inventory tool has all the certificate-related information to keep up with the baseline requirements.

GlobalSign's Certificate Inventory Tool

General_CIT_Blog_Assets_CIT_Login_page_2022_03_08.pngExample of a website without a valid SSL certificate

GlobalSign’s SSL certificates come with a free certificate inventory tool that enables companies to find, monitor, and manage SSL certificates on a single platform. Our CIT monitors all SSL certificates within the system, including self-signed ones and other issuing CAs.

GlobalSign also sends email alerts to renew certificates to avoid expiration. It streamlines certificate management by letting users track the issuing CA for all certificates.

General_CIT_Blog_Assets_Dashboard_overview_2022_03_08.jpgExample of a website without a valid SSL certificate

General_CIT_Blog_Assets_Dashboard_overview_2_2022_03_08.jpgExample of a website without a valid SSL certificate

A simple scan provides all the necessary information of SSL certificates and whether they are up to date with the baseline requirements and recommendations. Our CIT can run reports on key length, hashing algorithm, and other configuration options.

Certificate Inventory Tool Use Cases

Nowadays, it is not uncommon for companies to use multiple certificates from different CAs for both their external and internal networks. The only issue is that doing so makes it more difficult to keep track of certificate status, expirations, and usage.

GlobalSign’s CIT is perfect for companies managing multiple certificates from multiple vendors across their networks, including self-signed ones. Such industries include:

  • E-commerce
  • Healthcare
  • Banking and Finance
  • Logistics
  • Education
  • Real Estate
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Engineering and more

Keep track of your certificate lifecycle and get notified with upcoming expirations so you don’t experience downtime on your websites with GlobalSign’s CIT. Email us at sales-apac@globalsign.com or reach out to us through our website here.

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