What is a Digital Certificate?
A public key or identity certificate is used to authenticate the Web credentials of the sender. It is issued by the certification authority (CA) and functions to let the recipient of an encrypted message to know that it is from a credible source. These certificates play an important role in establishing trust by becoming a security protocol.
This allows others (relying parties) to rely upon signatures or on assertions made about the private key that corresponds to the certified public key. A CA acts as a trusted third party—trusted both by the subject (owner) of the certificate and by the party relying upon the certificate. The format of these certificates is specified by the X.509 standard.
Social networking via the internet has broadened worldwide which causes various security problems. The awareness regarding it has spread at a rapid yet healthy rate which makes people more skeptical while using websites, they usually check prior if it’s trustworthy enough. SSL security is a critical component of an enterprise’s overall security strategy.
Web browsers warn users of expired certificates with brightly-colored and bold messages. Some users might not pay attention to what the warning says but will still leave because of the simple fact there is a warning message. These warning messages are scary for users and should motivate site owners and system admins to keep SSL Certificates up-to-date. For users, a warning message could evoke a feeling of distrust, and possibly permanently damage their trust in the website.
What is the Certificate Authority?
It is an entrusted entity which carries the responsibilities of obtaining unique user identification traits with the right to create and issue certificates. Their role is integral for securing communication in a public network through managing and issuing security certificates. It is one of the components of public key infrastructure (PKI) along with another component, i.e., the registration authority (RA).
As a collective unit, they verify the information provided by the requester of a digital certificate and accordingly authorize the certificate. The certificates that are issued and accepted are later marked as valid through publication to another entity called certificate repository. Certificate repository is accountable to keep records of valid certificates by keeping it updated through attributes like validity period and owner.
It is not to be confused with certification authority which refers to a singular entity which is usually a part of an organization. They deal with a digitalized form of highly sensitive data which is to be confidential or else it can be used for illicit purposes. These are carefully selected individuals who are granted the authority to authenticate.
Certificate Management and what it entails
Certificate management happens at two levels. The first one is the authority which publishes security certificates which validates the site of a particular company. The second level is at the company’s level, which has applied for the security certificate.For certification authority, the process of certificate management involves managing different digital security certificates which include various processes like creation, storage, dissemination, suspension, and revocation.
While at the company’s level the issues differ. It is crucial for the company to ensure that the certificate remains valid as its expiration can cause possible negative consequences like reduced site traffic or lack of user trust. The cause of expiration of certificate can be many but usually, the reason is either an unavailable system admin or inefficient platform for managing certificates.
The former often happens when the employee responsible for the admin work switches company and forgets to update the contact information with the certificate authority before their departure. The latter is caused when the company has many sites and consequently many certificates to take care of but not efficient platforms to manage.
Some admins still use excel spreadsheets or calendars to management their certificate lifecycle events which are not enough considering that their job entails admins to effectively monitor, inspect, remediate, and deploy certificates. This causes problem leading to certificate expiration. Many enterprises are not able to account for all of their SSL Certificates and the decentralized approach to certificate management leaves the organization vulnerable to insecure systems and service failures due to expired or unaccounted for certificates.
Worst of all, inefficient certificate management costs the organization in time and resources. Certificate Management Software is now introduced which provide a competent and well-organized platform for safeguarding certificate’s validity. They also reduce the company the headache of forgotten or lost certificates, cost, vetting requirements and continual need for more certificates.
What is a Certificate Management Software (CMS) and why you need it?
CMS is a thoroughly networked system used for generation, distribution, storage, and verification of certificates for use in a variety of security enhanced applications. The Internet PEM requirement describes the arrangement and functionality of a universal certification hierarchy, as well as the structure of its internal messages.
By extending the existing conditions with functions for the storage and recovery of certificates, the CMS becomes functionally complete and immediately nonterminal. Furthermore, it can operate either as an independent hierarchy or combined into a global system.
The Certificate Management Software(CMS) is the leading product for issuing and handling certificates across devices and services. CMS is uniquely designed to provide protectedinclusive issuance, cancellation, and management of certificates in an IT environment. It eases the four simple yet critical components of certificate lifecycle management: the installation, monitoring, inspection, and management of certificates across the enterprise.
With on-device issuance and key generation, support for Linux, Java and Windows certificate processes and a deep reporting and alerting infrastructure, CMS brings IT, administrators, everything they need to manage their certificate services at scale, reducing the risk of service outage and device access denial due to expired or invalid certificates. The Certificate Management Software (CMS) is delivered using an agile software saas development company cycle, with yearly release plans to include a six month iterative. Demonstrations and free evaluation copies of the Certificate Management Software (CMS) are available.A single management system eliminates the need for manual certificate management and fully allows enterprise administrators to take control and streamline SSL security across an entire organization.