Gone are the days when the concept of PKI management was a chapter out of a science fiction novel. With a robust certificate manager and a couple of private or public digital certificates, any “not-so-safe” human or machine identity can be turned into a completely safe, impenetrable identity.

Today, PKI management is a certified mainstay in the enterprise arena, and security enthusiasts couldn’t be happier. Perhaps the one thing that most people are yet to know about PKI management, both as a concept and a process, is that it can be quite ineffective without automation. Automation brings full visibility and intelligence into the process, ensuring that you’re not susceptible to a bevy of PKI pitfalls that often arise from managing the lifecycle of certificates manually—think: unexpected expirations, outages, human error, and so on.

In this article, we’ll explore three distinct use cases for automated lifecycle PKI management, so that you can better appreciate the importance of investing in this security service.

1. Zero Trust

Zero trust is a strategic initiative aimed at preventing data breaches by removing implicit trust and continuously verifying every interaction that happens on a corporate network. Based on a spin-off of the popular mantra “trust, but verify”, zero trust’s mantra is “never trust, always verify.” Automated lifecycle PKI management plays a vital role in supporting zero trust.

First, it ensures you have unobstructed visibility over all your digital certificates, regardless of the number of disparate systems or resource requests on your network. Secondly, it facilitates faster deployment of digital certificates for new devices, ensuring that your zero-trust environment won’t be compromised even for a split second. Lastly, it expedites the entire process of certificate renewal—after all, everyone knows that there’s no bigger loophole on the enterprise front than an expired certificate.

2. DevOps Security

Are you part of the 83 percent of IT decision-makers who are currently implementing DevOps practices in their organizations, according to the Accelerate State of DevOps Report 2021? Great. The big question is, how secure is your DevOps environment? If your answer is anything less than 100 percent, then automated lifecycle PKI management should be more or less a no-brainer for your digital security strategy. Why, you ask? Because automated PKI management provides a secure, scalable, and uninterruptible way to manage the large volumes of PKI certificates used in DevOps environments. This eliminates over-reliance on manual processes, allowing your DevOps team to focus on what they’re good at—creating quality software products.

3. Enterprise Code Signing

If you’re new to code signing, it’s simply a guarantee that the code of a software program has not been tampered with after it was signed by the publisher. The file that contains a digital signature that can be used for code signing is what’s known as a code signing certificate. Much like SSL certificates, code signing certificates also need to be managed proactively and on the go, lest they fall into the wrong hands. Considering that “managing” encompasses buying, deploying, renewing, and revoking certificates, doing it manually is not really a feasible option on an enterprise level. There’s a very high chance that one or two code signing certificates could go past their renewal dates without anyone noticing, consequently inviting the full wrath of attackers. That’s where automated certificate lifecycle management comes in. A software solution such as Sectigo is purpose-built to deploy and manage the lifecycles of public and private digital certificates to secure every machine and human identity across the enterprise, all from a single interface.

The Bottom Line

There are endless use cases for automated lifecycle PKI management, both across industries and within industries. By automating certificate lifecycle management across the enterprise, businesses can save time and money, mitigate the risk of unexpected expirations, and ultimately put a stop to hackers and phishing scams.

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