According to a 2022 study conducted by Positive Technologies, “In 93% of cases, an external attacker can breach an organization’s network perimeter and gain access to local network resources”, and it takes roughly two days to penetrate the internal network of an enterprise. The perimeter-less and distributed network infrastructure has made it even more convenient for hackers to sneak into the corporate network and compromise critical information. As per IBM Cost of Data Breach Report 2022, it takes 277 days (around 9 months) on average to identify and contain data breaches.
With valuable data continuously being exchanged between applications in cloud environments, containers, IoT, and mobile devices, organizations need to secure this machine-to-machine communication. This is achieved by provisioning digital certificates to these applications, machines, and devices using PKI using both public and private certificate authorities (CAs). Digital certificates are used as identities for machines and applications and therefore must be diligently protected and managed.
The upsurge in the number of digital certificates being stolen or compromised and the consequent events of certificate exploitations have been making news headlines quite frequently. Organizations across all market segments face many burdens in dealing with major security incidents and data breaches. When trusted certificates are compromised, they can be misused by cybercriminals for phishing, ransomware, software supply chain attacks, and more. Thus, bringing in the need to manage digital certificates and their keys more effectively and efficiently.
Here are 4 mistakes that you might be making in managing digital certificates across your organization’s infrastructure:
Having limited visibility into certificate infrastructure
Limited visibility into the total number of certificates across your complex hybrid multi-cloud environment and lack of a centralized certificate inventory contribute to weakening the overall PKI architecture of your enterprise. Rogue and temporary certificates exist amid a multitude of certificates and keys and operate in stealth mode, practically impossible to be detected by manual human processes. They remain invisible until an outage or a security incident occurs, leaving security teams scrambling to identify the main culprit and clean up the incident. Lack of sufficient visibility into information such as where a certificate is located, when it expires, the CA that issued it, and the endpoint(s) it is tethered to, make it difficult for organizations to monitor certificate status, remediate issues, and prevent applications outages and security incidents.
Manually managing certificates and keys
Tedious manual processes and cumbersome spreadsheets are certainly not the best ways to manage digital certificates across your enterprise. To steer clear of this manual burden, you need to implement end-to-end automation for certificate lifecycle management. The most prominent roadblock to mitigating a certificate-related issue is not only identifying the certificate but also locating it on time to avoid service disruption. A difficult task to say the least without automation.
Manually managing large volumes of digital certificates and private keys taxes an organization’s time, budget, and resources. Managing thousands of public and private trust certificates with different expiration dates issued by both internal and external Certificate Authorities (CAs) creates additional complexities.
Failing audit assessments
Machine identities, digital certificates, and keys are increasingly subject to government, industry, and regulatory standards, including the security mandates on certificate and key management and cryptographic agility. As several organizations still lack an effective machine identity management system, auditors often find that an organization is not capable enough to enforce strict certificate policies and ensure that they are adhered to, or monitor machine identities. These could lead to security vulnerabilities and confidentiality, integrity, and availability risks. Failed audits can take a toll on your business processes. It is essential to create audit trails for users and certificates or key-related activity and share periodic reports on the certificate and key compliance to keep up with compliance standards.
Using misconfigured PKI and outdated protocols
Many organizations continue to use older and less secure cryptographic algorithms until certificates get compromised or outages occur due to unsupported ciphers. Outdated cryptographic protocol and hashing algorithm, SHA-1 was deprecated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2011 as it could lead to increased risks of man-in-the-middle attacks and other malicious attempts to access critical resources. Similarly, TLS 1.1 has been deprecated, giving way to a more secure version, TLS 1.3. By using these outdated and deprecated protocols, organizations become more prone to unfortunate security incidents and data breaches.
How AppViewX can help
Using an automated certificate lifecycle management solution like AppViewX CERT+ keeps your enterprise safe from certificate outages and enables cryptographic agility. Certificate lifecycle management (CLM) in AppViewX CERT+ centralizes all certificate operations between CAs and the applications and devices where certificates are provisioned.
AppViewX CERT+ simplifies the management of certificates and keys across various PKI use cases like SSL/TLS, SSH, IoT, code signing, and others in varied hybrid cloud and multi-cloud deployment environments. AppViewX CERT+ natively supports a long list of devices and applications for certificate provisioning as well as all major public and private CAs for certificate enrollment.