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Moving PKI to the Cloud: Overcoming 3 Tough Challenges [Axiad and Venafi]

Moving PKI to the Cloud: Overcoming 3 Tough Challenges [Axiad and Venafi]

March 8, 2022 | Bassam Al-Khalidi, Axiad

Who has time to manage one or more PKIs given today’s resource-constrained InfoSec teams? As CEO and Co-Founder of Axiad, I can tell you that I am keenly familiar with the challenges Global 5000 organizations face in moving PKI to the cloud. Based on my experience helping these organizations, there are three main challenges are impacting PKI and digital transformation:
 

  • Challenge 1: There’s just not enough talent
    PKI experts! Unfortunately, there's not a lot of them. There's a shortage of expertise -- security experts that know how to deploy, manage, maintain a PKI platform, especially a global PKI platform for large organizations. With that shortage, it's hard to maintain key expertise internally for a long period of time. People will transition and move from area to area or location to location. When that happens, you’re stuck with a legacy platform that you must maintain. Sometimes not everything in the PKI is well documented or well transitioned, and that could create issues.
     
  • Challenge 2: BYOD has changed everything
    Look at what happened in the last couple of years, right? A trend occurred. The simple, massive trend is that your perimeter got destroyed—almost overnight. It just disappeared. This notion of me having my users coming into the office, that's gone. Also, the notion of having every user join the VPN to do their activity also disappeared pretty quickly, because you had a massive number of users that had to go remote overnight. Not a lot of organizations were ready for that. What happened? Virtually overnight organizations turned on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). When you start turning on BYOD, it's important to know which device is accessing your network. Is it authorized? Is it not authorized?
     
  • Challenge 3: Crypto-Agility is more important than ever
    If we look at the nature of what's happening in the industry or what has happened in the industry over the years, it's not that we're replacing one certificate authority. That's not the case. Organizations have a private CA and sometimes multiple private CAs. So, that's one business problem they have. Then we add to it the challenges of publicly trusted certificates, OV Wildcard search, all that exciting stuff. Then, on top of that, we add the new paradigm of pushing certificates to cloud applications or to Azure and making sure they reside there.
     

So how does an organization successfully move PKI to the cloud? It’s by removing the complexity of PKI, making it turnkey so all you have to do is manage it rather than deploy and maintain and all the critical elements of it. That really offers the best of both worlds.

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How can you take control of your PKI in the cloud?

The most effective way to move PKI into the cloud is with a dedicated, secure, turnkey platform that allows you to do all your PKI services in the cloud. For optimal results, it would give you a full authentication service with a single pane of glass for all your different authentication needs. From that perspective, you’d essentially get a holistic solution for identity and authentication and credential management, whether it's for device or machine authentication. This is exactly the solution that Axiad provides.

The goal of our solution is really simple.

Together Axiad and Venafi provide a passwordless experience for users and devices across the organization. We hear “passwordless” thrown around everywhere, specifically around the context of the user, but we don't hear it a lot around devices, and I think that it's as critical for machines as it is for users. We make it easy for users to go to our cloud PKI, plug in with Venafi, and get single view and see whether the certificate's been issued by Axiad, by any third party, by their CA, or another cloud CA. They can then orchestrate and automate that whole process across the board for the organization.

That's what we see really as the value of our joint offering. It accelerates the adoption rate of machine identities in the cloud. And it removes legacy certificates that no one knows the history of, or that may have been requested by an admin who's no longer with the organization. The joint solution also prevents certificate-related outages with Venafi automating the renewal process for certificates—managing when the certificate needs to be renewed and whether it will be renewed by CA one, CA two, or the Axiad CA. All in all, the joint solution allows you to accelerate your road to Azure.

With that in mind, Venafi and Axiad can address each of those challenges:

  • Resolving Lack of Experts: Since Axiad is a dedicated platform, we give the organization the capability of becoming an operator of their own CA, so this way they can do every single task that they choose to do, but without worrying about the complexity or the behind the scenes, or the caring of feeding of the whole platform of it on a day-to-day basis.
     
  • Resolving BYOD: We give the organization a way to issue credentials so employees can start from home on day zero. Having a joint solution between Axiad, Venafi, Microsoft Intune and other cloud management tools, allows the organization to quickly and rapidly issue certificates to mobile devices, to endpoints, to web services, to enable new offerings for people even with BYOD to connect the different portals. That's what we're really excited about with our joint offering: it plugs all this together to give the organization a much more rapid deployment aspect for these endpoints that are out there.
     
  • Resolving Crypto-Agility: As we're talking about having a PKI system, knowing there're more advanced threats out there, we're talking about the super computing power and all that exciting stuff, having that crypto agility and being able to swap your route and create a whole new PKI paradigm in a matter of minutes. That's where we think the combination of Axiad with Venafi would be an extremely valuable aspect to our current and new customers. It would really give them something that they can use today, and a huge defense mechanism for the future.

Can we help your PKI journey? Read about our partnership and learn more about Axiad Cloud and Venafi on the Venafi Marketplace.

This blog features solutions from the ever-growing Venafi Ecosystem, where industry leaders are building and collaborating to protect more machine identities across organizations like yours. Learn more about how the Venafi Ecosystem is evolving above and beyond just technical integrations.

Learn more about machine identity management. Explore now.

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About the author

Bassam Al-Khalidi, Axiad
Bassam Al-Khalidi, Axiad
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