Your machine identities don’t just sit in your PKI and protect https traffic. They can be used to validate and secure systems throughout your network. But, if they are not readily available for use by these business-critical systems, it may impact performance or even compromise security. If you can automatically coordinate access to machine identities for a variety of systems, you’ll improve security, reduce overhead, and improve availability.
How can you protect your machine identities? Read more in Machine Identity Protection for Dummies.
Machine identities are used by a wide variety of technology solutions deployed across your expanded network and security infrastructure. To get the maximum value from your machine identity protection program, you need to be prepared to integrate and orchestrate machine identities across the following five enterprise IT systems (and there are a lot of others that need current machine identity information):
- Operating systems and applications
Your organization relies on a broad range of operating systems and applications for mission-critical operations. Each of these systems and applications has a machine identity that plays a fundamental role in the security of communications to and from these systems. Automating machine identity intelligence streamlines key and CSR generation for certificates and CA certificate chain installation, validation, and renewal. Allowing your operating systems and applications to have automatic access to machine identities is the most efficient way to encrypt both internal and external traffic. Ultimately, it will also help you preserve the uptime and security of these important systems.
- Load balancing
Load balancers have become a primary conduit through which organizations manage and process communications with customers, partners, and employees. Because load balancers front end so many applications, they also host a large number of machine identities that represent each backend application. In fact, there can be as many as 1,000 machine identities or more per load balancer. Due to the critical nature of the services load balancers handle and the scale of machine identities they host, it’s difficult to collect intelligence or manage the life cycle of these machine identities without automation.
- TLS inspection
Transport Layer Security (TLS) inspection devices provide critical visibility into TLS data streams. To do this, they must have access to the private keys for the thousands of systems on which they are monitoring traffic. To support TLS inspection at this scale, you need the ability to automatically and securely transfer and install private keys on TLS inspection devices.
- Hardware security modules
Most private keys are stored in files on the systems they secure. This makes them susceptible to compromise. To prevent these risks, you can use HSM solutions to generate, store, and access keys within the safe confines of a security-hardened appliance. Using HSMs also helps you simplify compliance because auditors understand their security benefits. However, adding HSMs can also increase management complexity because they add a layer between your systems and your private keys. You can avoid this complexity by integrating machine identity automation into your HSM processes.
- Cloud and DevOps platforms
Cloud and DevOps platforms require the rapid creation and provisioning of machine identities to ensure secure computing and application deployment. If you automate the delivery and monitoring of machine identities in each of these environments, you can increase security while supporting the deployment of new servers, applications, and containers at machine speed.
- SIEM systems
Integrating automated machine identity intelligence directly into Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platforms allows your security teams to correlate machine identity intelligence with other security information. This correlation helps accelerate the identification and remediation of cyber threats.
The systems outlined above are the most commonly used systems that immediately benefit from machine identity orchestration. But you may also choose to integrate machine identity security and protection with other enterprise systems, such as identity management solutions, configuration management databases, ticketing systems, and change control. There are literally hundreds of potential integrations that can help you can streamline operations and improve security, so make sure your machine identity program includes a variety of tools to make integration easy.
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