Certificate management and discovery involve a meticulous process of identifying, inventorying, and tracking digital certificates across an organization. However, countless businesses struggle with challenges in certificate discovery due to a myriad of challenges. Missing or outdated certificates are common, leaving gaps in an organization’s encryption infrastructure. Certificates deployed across devices and applications often go unnoticed, resulting in issues like expired certificates causing application downtime. The sheer scale and complexity of business networks today can also make full certificate discovery nearly impossible without the right visibility and automation tools.
This article examines the most common problems businesses face as challenges in certificate discovery and management. We’ll also discuss some tips and solutions for overcoming these challenges.
Common Challenges in Certificate Discovery:
Many organizations lack full visibility into all the certificates deployed across their networks and systems. This includes certificates on firewalls, load balancers, VPNs, mobile devices, IoT devices, and internal and external apps and services. Without this visibility, businesses can’t effectively govern and manage all of their certificates.
It’s not uncommon for organizations to have thousands of certificates issued by different Certificate Authorities (CA) and installed on various servers and devices. This vast certificate landscape can lead to security vulnerabilities, compliance issues, and downtime if certificates expire or are revoked without notice.
Most businesses rely on manual discovery methods like spreadsheets, scripts, and IT walks to locate certificates. This process is labor-intensive, error-prone, and can’t regularly scan environments for new certificates. It also can’t monitor certificates over time for changes.
So how do you overcome these challenges and gain full visibility into deploying security certificates across your system? Let’s look at some tips and solutions for enhanced challenges in certificate discovery.
4 Tips and Solutions for Overcoming Challenges in Certificate Discovery:
1. Use Automated Discovery Tools
Cutting out manual efforts is an essential first step in enhanced certificate discovery. According to a recent study by the Ponemon Institute, 60% of organizations rely on manual processes to manage their digital certificates. Implementing an automated discovery tool that can regularly scan your entire environment is the most effective way to locate all certificates. It finds certificates used across devices, applications, firewalls, load balancers, and more. It can also provide real-time alerts when certificates are due for renewal or have been revoked.
2. Implement a Certificate Management System
A good certificate management system brings much-needed centralization to your certificate discovery process. With Sectigo’s certificate lifecycle management solutions, you gain real-time visibility into your certificate inventory, including issuance and expiration dates, domains and subdomains, installation locations, and other relevant information in a single dashboard.
3. Conduct Regular Audits
A certificate audit involves reviewing your certificate inventory, identifying expired or revoked certificates, and verifying the accuracy of certificate information. By conducting regular certificate audits, you can identify and address any certificate-related issues before they become a security or compliance risk. Regular audits ensure the completeness and accuracy of your certificate inventory.
4. Standardize Certificate Discovery Processes and Protocols
It would be best to standardize certificate formats and protocols across your infrastructure to simplify certificate discovery. By standardizing certificate formats and protocols, you can streamline the certificate management process and reduce the risk of certificate-related issues. For example, you can use the same CA for all your certificates or standardize on a specific certificate format, such as the X.509 certificate.
Implementing the solutions provided in this article can help you progress toward overcoming common challenges in certificate discovery. But to fully realize the benefits, you need an efficient way to automate and manage the processes involved. A certificate management tool can automate tasks like certificate discovery scanning, deploying certificates, and renewal warnings. Using such a tool, you can implement the tips discussed to resolve issues, strengthen security, and optimize your certificate lifecycle management.