Manually managing SSL certificates is an arduous task that most IT and security teams would rather not do. Yet they still have to, for obvious reasons. Threats posed by cyber-attacks are increasing in both volume and level of sophistication. On average, there were 270 cyber-attacks per enterprise in 2021, a 30% increase from 2020, according to a report by the World Economic Forum. And, the challenge is being propelled by the fast pace of digital transformation, IoT, and cloud adoption.
What if there was a way to reinforce the security posture of your enterprise while reducing the associated administrative burden? There is, and it comes in the shape of automated certificate lifecycle management (ACLM).
Enhanced Security: The Most Important Benefit of Automation
The use of digital keys and certificates across the enterprise is at an all-time high. At the outset, this might not look remotely problematic. However, the truth is that if you’re monitoring these innumerable yet crucial assets manually, it won’t be long before malicious actors strike. And when they do, it’ll undoubtedly be a huge blow to your finite resources.
Automation seals this rather obvious security loophole in three fundamental ways:
1. Central Inventory
An automated certificate lifecycle management system allows centralizing all certificates so they’re not scattered everywhere. This unified inventory provides insights into crypto standards used for PKI, and, more importantly, certificate expiry status.
With this insight, you can avoid application outages by renewing on time. You can also enhance and update crypto standards easily and on the go. This way, data breaches are kept at bay.
2. Certificate Discovery
It doesn’t matter where certificates are located. Automation will pinpoint them with ease. Whether yours are distributed in various applications and devices across the cloud, or in a more complex environment like multi-cloud, certificate discovery will do its job to a tee.
Authenticated scans of devices, cloud accounts, and CA accounts help unearth as many certificates as possible. With this level of insight, it’s doubtful that bad actors will catch you off-guard.
3. Zero Trust Network Architecture (ZTNA)
In today’s vastly connected and complex digital ecosystem, predefined trust levels are nothing short of a ticking time bomb. One compromised user, process, or device is all it takes to jeopardize an entire critical application or service.
ACLM builds ZTNA into its core such that access to each functionality in the certificate lifecycle (from discovery to provisioning) is granular, multi-layer, and least-privileged. In other words, there’s premium oversight around how certificates are administered and handled. This translates to limited lateral movement and lower chances of suffering an identity-based attack.
Efficiency: One More Reason to Ditch Manual Interventions
Manual procedures like spreadsheets are not efficient enough to monitor and keep tabs on a quickly-growing number of certificates. You’re spending infinite time locating, sorting, configuring, and renewing these pieces. Teams aren’t big enough to perform activities of that magnitude regularly. And that too with high chances of human error.
All the time you are currently channeling into manual efforts can be redirected into more productive endeavors. Automated certificate management processes streamline critical lifecycle operations like discovery and renewal with prebuilt templates and workflows. It takes nothing more than a few quick clicks to put everything into motion. Automation is the need of the hour, as it ensures certificate tracking and monitoring can be accomplished without dedicated resources.
Place Automation at the Heart of Your Agility and Security Practices
Sure, PKI and digital certificates are an excellent way to secure your networks and customer-facing applications. But manual certificate management practices can work against the very purpose of using SSL certificates, exposing critical environments to crippling threats and attacks.
Automation is secure and efficient. By automating the entire certificate lifecycle from start to finish, it helps PKI teams maintain a robust security posture while reducing administrative burden. Automation is a true catalyst for business agility and cloud and multi-cloud security, and it is time enterprises embraced it fully.