A CISO Guide to Certificate Management: Episode 1


The Risks Associated with Improper Certificate Management

About the webcast : A CISO Guide to Certificate Management

Business in the 21st century are hyper-reliant on technology, requiring some instance of it to run in almost every function, and across every vertical. This fact is reflected in the sheer number of applications and devices leveraged by organizations today. The abundance of digital assets can be extrapolated to the fact that every one of them needs to be secured, and digital certificates are the means by which that security is achieved. Authenticating the identities of endpoints and validating the transfer of data is a critical task that ensures that information isn’t misused, and a healthy certificate infrastructure allows these transactions to occur unhindered.

Managing Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) isn’t easy. There are a lot of them on any given server or device, not to mention the intricacies involved with maintaining their validity. For too long, organizations have relied on manual, or legacy methods to keep tabs on their certificate infrastructure, and fallen victim to human error, helped in part by the quantity of certificates an organization is bound to own.

Our newest webcast, ‘The CISO Guide’, is precision-engineered by our experts to deliver certificate management best practices to security professionals in short, concise portions. Split over a range of ~10 minute episodes, Glenn Gray, our solutions architect, will delve into the practice of PKI management, the flaws that impair the industry today, and simple techniques that can supercharge your certificate management routines and render them error-free. While the webcast is tailored for security leadership who wish to better guide their teams, it will also benefit NetOps/SecOps engineers by providing them with solutions to common security concerns at all levels, high and low.

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Recap: Episode 1

The risks associated with improper certificate management

When a digital certificate that’s bound to a system expires (or is no longer fully operational), it sets off a chain reaction that culminates in the system in question losing its digital identity. This is a huge red flag to entities that communicate with it. It is rendered technically inaccessible by communicating systems like browsers (the infamous popup, anyone?), resulting in a failed SSL/TLS handshake. Needless to say, business downtime for the organization leveraging the certificate follows, which translates to lost opportunities, customers, and revenue.

That’s not all. A vulnerable certificate is tantamount to a weak link in a security network, allowing hackers to target it, infiltrate a secure system undetected, and facilitate cyber crime of varying degrees (from phishing to data breaches).

Certificate-related outages are expensive affairs. A 2019 article by the SSLStore revealed that the average annual cost of remediating certificate-related issues amounted to approximately 11 million dollars, and that ~75% of all organizations have experienced it up to 4 times over the past year. Those are significant numbers, and are too large to be ignored. The cause is relatively simple to pinpoint: lack of visibility into one’s organization’s certificate infrastructure. When engineers use spreadsheets to keep tabs on and maintain their PKI, there is every chance of obscure network locations being ignored along with their constituent (expired/invalid) certificates. And of course, simple human error could result in unnoticed expirations, invalidities, and more.

The solution? Automation.

The solution: Certificate Lifecycle Management

When the human component is eliminated from the certificate lifecycle, there is no room for error. Fortunately, there’s software that automates it. Full-cycle certificate management tools are comprehensive programs that integrate with your network, devices, and CAs to automate the tedium of manually managing your PKI. Certificates in unknown locations? The tool scans your entire network and creates structured inventories for your perusal. Thousands of certificates nearing expiration? The software automatically detects potential defaulters, renews them, and pushes them to the devices they’re supposed to be on.

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Those are just a couple of the capabilities of certificate lifecycle management software. In episode 1, we’ll go over the full extent of its functionality, and all the pain-points it can address, in addition to the ones we’ve spoken about in the previous section. To watch it, click here!

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