PKI and Identity-based Security – The Secret Sauce for Cyber Resilience

Cybersecurity is not a set-and-forget system. It’s a constant work in progress. As new technologies come by and new threats emerge, cybersecurity must adapt and scale to keep up with the changing demands and protect the enterprise from threat actors at all times. 

Today’s IT infrastructures are highly complex. Unlike before, the data center is no longer the hub of the network activity. Majority of applications and workloads have moved to the cloud, and most of the work gets done outside the data centers. Organizations continue to add IoT devices, blockchain technology, and other cutting-edge innovations to their infrastructure, which is dramatically expanding the network. Further, large-scale remote work has led to employees accessing enterprise data and applications over the public internet on their personal devices. 

All the above factors have opened up a huge attack surface and multiple opportunities for malicious actors to infiltrate corporate networks.

Going by the trends in recent cyberattacks, it is increasingly evident that relying solely on network perimeter and legacy firewall puts enterprise security at high risk. The scale and complexity of today’s infrastructures demand advanced protection mechanisms that can adapt to changing security dynamics across all environments – on-premises, the cloud, and the edge. 

The need to build agile, scalable, and modular cybersecurity is driving an increasing number of organizations to move beyond the perimeter and take an identity-first approach to security. By making identity the new perimeter, organizations can ensure that the right people have the right access to the right resources, regardless of the location. Implementing identity-based security also allows organizations to realize zero-trust philosophy, which is considered the gold standard of modern cybersecurity. 

Do you rely on SSL and certificates to protect your business?

Public Key Infrastructure or PKI – The De Facto Tool for Identity-Based Security 

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is a widely used framework for managing digital identities. PKI rests on the concepts of digital certificates and cryptographic keys that help establish the identity of communicating or transacting parties and encrypt their communication to avoid data leakages or breaches. As digital identities are unique to every individual machine, they help build a strong, independent security perimeter for every machine on the network, wherever it resides.

Data protection and privacy regulations dictate the use of strong encryption and authentication mechanisms to secure sensitive, personal, and regulated data that businesses process and store on their networks. PKI has proven to be a mature, effective means of defending data privacy and ensuring regulatory compliance.

PKI is not a new concept. As part of identity and access management (IAM), it has been used by organizations for decades to secure website communication. However, the growing focus on identity-based security has brought PKI to the forefront, making it one of the critical elements of the larger cybersecurity strategy. 

According to the “Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Market – Global Forecast to 2026” report, the major driving factors for increasing adoption of PKI solutions and services are:

  • Rise in concerns pertaining to loss of critical data
  • Increase in penetration of online channels
  • Rise in instances of malware and file-based attacks
  • Stringent regulatory standards and data privacy compliances

One of the best things about PKI is its ability to evolve and meet new security requirements. Today, it is no longer limited to securing internet-facing websites. It has come a long way from being simply about installing a TLS certificate to being involved with every type of technology in order to authenticate devices, encrypt communications, and protect digital identities. 

Some of the most common areas where organizations today are struggling with security, and where PKI serves as an ideal solution are:

  • Digital transformation: Rapid technology adoption has resulted in a huge influx of virtual and physical machines into the network. The IT environments are overrun with IoT devices, containers, virtual machines, servers, and mobile endpoints. More the number of machines, the wider the attack surface. Monitoring and protecting these machines that are outside the corporate network is a major challenge for security teams. Digital certificates enable these machines with a secure means of accessing the network and communicating with other machines on the network. Digital certificates help verify the identity of every machine on the network through SSL/TLS certificates and allow authorized networked devices and services to exchange data securely over the internet and corporate networks. By binding digital certificates to every machine, PKI provides complete visibility of the network infrastructure, which helps proactively fix security issues. 
  • Cloud security: Organizations today are rapidly migrating their data and applications to the cloud. Every cloud environment comes with a unique set of security requirements. As the traditional network perimeter was built only to safeguard the data center, it is failing to meet the disparate security needs of cloud environments. This is where PKI comes to help. Digital certificates provide an effective way to secure cloud resources through strong authentication, authorization, and encryption. By encrypting communication, PKI helps protect data both at rest and in transit across multiple cloud environments. 
  • Remote work: The majority of employees today work from outside the office premises. The reality of remote work presents an array of security concerns. A large number of employees are accessing data and applications over the public internet. On the other hand, employees are dodging VPN access and directly accessing data and applications to avoid performance issues, risking data exposure. This is where PKI can help. Digital certificates help provide remote users a secure way to access the enterprise network by serving as proofs for endpoint’s authenticity and establishing an encrypted channel for communication over the public internet. 

With Gartner recognizing identity-first security as one of the top security and risk management trends for 2021, organizations are increasingly pivoting towards PKI to take advantage of its authentication and encryption capabilities. As infrastructures expand, establishing trust in untrusted environments will get trickier. PKI solutions provide organizations with the best trust apparatus to secure a wide variety of enterprise use cases. In doing so, they help fully capitalize on digital transformation without worrying about cybersecurity. 

AppViewX – Certificate Lifecycle Automation 

AppViewX Platform is all about automating the complete certificate lifecycle, not just discovery or audit. It focuses on end-to-end automation of key and certificate functions across multi-cloud enterprise environments. By providing extensive visibility and control over certificate infrastructures, the AppViewX Platform helps prevent outages caused by expired or vulnerable certificates. It also protects keys, delivers compliance, and allows for role-based self-servicing of PKI.

Our platform is CA-agnostic and out-of-the-box, and works in synergy with major PKI, encryption, and security product vendors. AppViewX makes certificate management streamlined and efficient, allowing for endless upward scalability and cryptographic agility.

Do you want to manage your machine identities better?

Tags

  • Certificate Management
  • PKI
  • PKI management

About the Author

Krupa Patil

Product Marketing Specialist

A content creator focused on providing readers and prospective buyers with accurate, useful, and latest product information to help them make better informed decisions.

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