Public key infrastructure (PKI) can be a complicated component of an enterprise’s IT operations and security strategy. Given the explosion of certificates required by today’s systems and applications, user demands may overwhelm PKI teams. Many simply do not have the proper resources to keep pace with the ever-evolving set of security requirements required to keep PKI protected.
To better understand these issues, Venafi recently conducted a simple poll on PKI management through its social media channels. The results indicated that while some PKI teams are on the right track, many more could use some improvement. Here’s what we found.
PKI is often seen as an operational component of a business, but it's also important to an organization’s overall a security posture. When asked who owns PKI management in their organization, nearly half of the respondents said “operations.” Unfortunately, this means that in most companies, the security aspects of PKI may not be receiving enough expert attention. The results indicate there is a need for greater communication between operations and security teams.
To ensure consistent management and policy enforcement across all certificate authorities (CAs), organizations should invest in third-party management solutions for their PKI. Unfortunately, many of the respondents in our poll aren’t accessing the centralized intelligence that would deliver key insights into their PKI program.
Relying on certificate authorities and spreadsheets to track certificates means they don't have complete visibility into all the certificates in use. In addition, there are significant limitations with purely using CAs to track and manage certificates. Users cannot see rogue CAs that are added without permission or swap out a CA in response to changes in business practices.
Another key metric for PKI security is certificate expiration dates. The longer the expiration date, the greater the opportunity for something to go wrong. How often are your certificates set to expire? Google says best practice for certificate expiration is 6 months or less. However, only a quarter of our poll respondents hit this goal on a regular basis.
Want to learn more about other factors that impact PKI security? We’ll explore the remaining results of Venafi’s PKI poll in our next post.
In the meantime, how does your PKI program stack up to these results?