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Manage Your Environment: Choosing the Right Automated Certificate Management Solution

Manage Your Environment: Choosing the Right Automated Certificate Management Solution

As organizations are becoming increasingly digital and cloud migration becomes a requirement of efficient operations, the topic of securing digital identities is growing in prominence. With an evolving PKI market and the emergence of technologies such as AI and post-quantum computing, Certificate Lifecycle Management (CLM) is at the forefront of these discussions.

IT managers and cybersecurity experts are under growing pressure to ensure the security of their digital identities and communications but are facing more challenges than ever before as they do so. Recent shifts in the market such as shortening certificate lifespans, a growing skill gap, combined with common business challenges like increasing certificates to secure a growing number of endpoints, are all contributing to mounting pressure in IT and security teams. If these teams cannot keep up with a changing market and the evolution of the malicious adaptation of growing technologies, their organizations are sure to succumb to a breach, and the financial and business implications that that brings.

The front-running solution which will allow security teams to tackle these challenges is the use of automation to manage their certificates, mitigating the risk of human error or outdated certificates. But organizations must ensure that they partner with a trusted Certificate Authority (CA), that will cater to and offer the right solution to meet their business and security needs.

This blog will provide insight into the modern challenges of PKI security and certificate management and explore considerations that organizations must keep in mind when choosing the right automated certificate management solution for them.

Common Challenges of Digital Certificate Management

IT teams and security experts may be facing an uphill battle when it comes to managing their organization’s security – but the truth is that there are many factors, both growing within the PKI market, and common challenges that organizations have long been facing which contribute to the difficulty of effective certificate management. Here are the most prominent modern challenges of digital certificate management:

  • Growing Number of Identities: As organizations  grow in scale, so do the number of identities for IT teams to secure with digital certificates. IT teams must provision, renew and revoke each certificate, which can add to pressure on IT teams and contribute to the risk of human error when managed manually.
  • Decreasing Certificate Lifespans: Shortening certificate lifespans is nothing new, and has been an industry trend for several years, but, like the growing number of identities, this also means that IT teams will have more certificates to manage, adding to further mounting pressure.
  • Complex Manual Processes: This is culminated by the two points already mentioned, with growing identities and reducing certificate lifespans, manual certificate management is becoming too complex an option, especially if certificates are managed using spreadsheets, which may not be centralized and visible to everyone who requires access. Even updating the status of each individual certificate alone, adds significant drains on time and resources , especially if your organization has multiple domains and locations over multiple time-zones.
  • Keeping Up with Compliance: Certificate auditing and monitoring are essential for upholding compliance to market requirements and standards to deter the risk of a data breach and ensure that security policies are up to date, but these are not small tasks, and managing them manually invites the risk of human error and being subjected to non-compliance related penalties and costs . Auditors will normally expect reports and logs to be created at the point of request programmatically, which also indicates that the data has not been tampered with and can be trusted.
  • Skill Gaps and Personnel Changes: A growing skill gap in the security market has contributed to a high demand for security personnel, and IT teams stretching resources in order to keep up with security challenges. Also, challenges such as personnel changeover sometimes means that there is a disconnect in security, where access to certificate inventories has not been transferred from the previous owner to the next, which can lead to incidents where certificates go out of date before they are renewed.
  • Emerging Technologies: Cyber criminals have long been quick to adapt new trends and technological developments for their own gain, but as these technologies, such as advancing AI and the ongoing development of Post-Quantum Computing, become more complex, the stakes are getting higher. Cybercriminals are using AI to automate attacks, that many regular IT teams can struggle to keep up with, as the market also prepares for post-quantum computing to become a reality – meanwhile also managing the day to day of certificate deployment, revocation, renewal, auditing and monitoring.

How Certificate Automation Can Improve Business Strategy

New and persistent challenges in business and in the PKI market can make certificate management look like an uphill battle for organizations and IT teams. However, if organizations implement an automated solution for their certificate management, these challenges can also present an opportunity to turn around a challenging situation and promote business growth.

Addressing these challenges with the right automated solution can improve efficiency in business operations, further fortify security infrastructure, answer scalability issues, and help to redistribute tightening resources. When security is prioritized, and not overlooked, organizations can better strategize their growth plans, rather than being distracted by issues that could be resolved much more simply and efficiently with the right solution. 

Automated renewal and revocation of certificates significantly reduces the likelihood of an expiry related breach – which would otherwise result in large penalties for organizations, as well as the cost of mitigating the damage already caused to business operations and reputation.

With an automated, centralized solution, personnel changes and human error become a moot issue. But perhaps most importantly, frictionless certificate provisioning with an automated solution saves time and resources, that could be refocused into other projects. Many organizations put security infrastructure to one side of their business, but if properly planned and considered from the beginning, organizations can save on costs and time that could be returned into the business. 

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Considerations for Implementing an Automated Certificate Management Solution

However, organizations will only be able to take advantage of the changing market by implementing the right solution for their business needs and partnering with a trusted Certificate Authority to manage their security. Organizations must carefully consider what requirements they must address when implementing an automated certificate management solution:

  • Security Auditing and Planning: Organizations must audit their existing processes and potential deficiencies within the current system to identify what business needs a new solution should meet
  • Integration: As well as improved security and efficiency, organizations should ensure that the solution should provide flexibility to support their environment and integrate with their existing systems
  • Scalability: For growing organizations with an increased number of endpoints, businesses should consider a scalable solution, supporting a variety of certificates and use cases
  • Support and Implementation: Organizations should ensure that they partner with a trusted PKI provider that can provide support to help them plan and execute implementation securely to ensure that there are no gaps or vulnerabilities throughout integration

Which Organizations is an Automated Certificate Management Solution Relevant to?

An automated certificate management solution is applicable to a diverse range of business models, markets and industries, and is bound to have a profound impact on digital security in the short term and critical industry security in the future.

Introducing GlobalSign’s Certificate Automation Manager

Our Certificate Automation Manager is a flexible, scalable solution that can grow with a business. Certificate Automation Manager is great for enterprise use cases as it can scale to a growing number of endpoints within the business and can be integrated into existing workflows. However, it is not only for enterprise. Certificate Automation Manager is also great for Small-to-Medium businesses who do not have as many resources and time to dedicate to certificate management. Especially with expert support throughout every point of implementation, Certificate Automation Manager can help reduce the burden of certificate management that often weighs on smaller teams.

GlobalSign’s Certificate Automation Manager was built directly with these challenges in mind. A customizable automated solution built around your group policies, Certificate Automation Manager allows organizations to frictionlessly provision certificates, without having to worry about certificate expiry or human error. Certificate Automation Manager processes certificate requests without the need for administrative intervention for both Microsoft Active Directory and Microsoft Entra ID, allowing IT teams to focus on critical tasks and redistribute resources. It is designed to utilize your existing infrastructure and its implementation is flexible to adapt to every organizations unique needs.

In an evolving security market, organizations must choose the right solution for their certificate management to ensure that they are prepared for growing challenges within the PKI market and ongoing challenges faced by their security teams. GlobalSign has been a trusted provider of PKI for over 25 years and our teams are committed to providing their expertise and support so that your organization does not face these challenges alone.

Discover how GlobalSign’s Certificate Automation Manager can improve efficiency in your enterprise 

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