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Accelerate F5 Application Delivery with Automated Key and Certificate Management

Accelerate F5 Application Delivery with Automated Key and Certificate Management

accelerate F5 application delivery
August 29, 2017 | Nick Hunter

Privacy and security concerns are driving the rapid adoption of Encryption Everywhere strategies—throughout the extended enterprise. To successfully manage encryption for systems and applications, organizations must gain control and establish awareness of every SSL/TLS key and certificate, including those used for network infrastructure solutions such as Application Delivery Controllers. When strategically deployed throughout the data center, Application Delivery Controllers enable applications to be highly available, accelerated, and secure.

However, the benefits of Application Delivery Controllers will be limited if you use manual processes to install, configure, and rotate thousands of certificates across the network. And this negative impact is compounded by competition with other network devices, such as next gen firewalls, IDS/IPS systems, and servers, which all require their own keys and certificates to be managed. In such cases, manual processes quickly become burdensome, error prone, and can result in unplanned outages due to the expiration of certificates—these outages can jeopardize your ability to deliver services and ultimately impact your consumers. Plus, the lack of a centralized key and certificate management system can limit your operational efficiency and also leave gaps in your security.

To address the challenges of manual key and certificate management for Application Delivery Controllers, Venafi and F5 have partnered to improve key and certificate security, performance, and operational efficiency through automation. F5 BIG-IP accelerates secure network applications, while Venafi automates key and certificate lifecycle for BIG-IP devices, making it easy and secure to scale Encryption Everywhere. This integration eliminates the need for manual setup and ongoing key and certificate maintenance for HTTPS.

Here’s how the joint solution works. To streamline certificate management for F5, the Venafi Platform discovers and auto-creates objects that represent every virtual server (VIP) including unique settings, such as SSL Profile, Certificates, Root Bundles, and more. This allows you to rotate keys in bulk in just a couple of clicks. For example, this would allow you to rotate hundreds of certificate keys on your F5 solutions from SHA1 to SHA2 in a matter of hours, not days or weeks. Plus, the Venafi platform automatically creates and updates the certificate inventory and associated configuration, vastly reducing time and effort required to provision certificates.

Centrally managing all aspects of your certificates gives you access to vital security functionality, such as monitoring, expiration alerting, validation, reporting, analysis, management, enrollment and automated provisioning. Even better, if your certificate management solution audits for more than just expiring certificates, you’ll also find certificates with weak signatures (MD5 or SHA1) and weak keys (1024-bit).

High levels of automation can help you manage F5 solutions in the fraction of the time it normally would normally take. From first setup to validation that ongoing key and certificate updates are successfully completed—automating the complete certificate lifecycle is the most effective way to safely scale the use of SSL/TLS. Automation eliminates the potential impact of mistakes, poor security decisions, and the risk of certificates expiring.

Are you still using manual processes to manage keys and certificates for your Application Delivery Controllers?

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About the author

Nick Hunter
Nick Hunter

Nick Hunter writes for Venafi's blog and is an expert in machine identity protection.

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