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Zero Touch PKI and the Great Resignation

Zero Touch PKI and the Great Resignation

November 16, 2021 | Steve Prentice

“The Great Resignation”—a term coined by Dr. Anthony Klotz of Texas A&M University—is augmenting the skills shortage problem in the cybersecurity market. The number of people quitting their jobs in the U.S. reached 4.3 million in August, a steady increase of 2.9% throughout 2021, affecting mostly tech and security employees. With work from home and digital nomads, security teams are struggling to address the expanded threat landscape.  

PKI professionals are not immune to this struggle. And this contributes to PKI teams experiencing excess stress and mental burnout issues trying to maintain the same level of security for all devices remotely accessing corporate assets. Because of these additional pressures, protecting the security and integrity of machine identities to safeguard remote transactions is certainly a pain point that contributes to this burnout. 

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A survey released in October 2021 from TalentLMS, revealed that 72% of tech workers in the U.S. are thinking of quitting their jobs in the next 12 months. But perhaps what’s most notable about the name the Great Resignation is that its main substance—resignations—may be the least consequential thing about the moment that it’s come to represent. The real takeaway is why people are leaving their jobs in the first place. The TalentLMS report as well as other research indicate that the impulse is driven by issues such as rampant stress, lack of professional development, and remote work options. 

These aren’t issues of boredom or even being in the wrong job. “In many ways, this is really a mental health conversation,” says Dr. Anthony Klotz. This is also reflected in the TalentLMS report: “More than half of respondents (58%) say they suffer from job burnout. And those who suffer from burnout are twice more likely to quit their job than those who don’t.” 

The future of work 

The concept of the future-of-work has been discussed for quite a few years now, but very recently, as people look towards a post pandemic “normal”, a good deal of this discussion has been about hybrid workspaces and working from home. We are all aware that the technology, at least in its nascent form, has made the work-from-home option a reality, but the bigger question is, now that the opportunity exists for people to go back to their offices, why do so many of them still want to work in their homes? 

People want to go where they are happiest, and during the pandemic a large percentage of employees confirmed something they already knew. Work at the office does not make them happy. This group of people is becoming part of a larger group that has also realized that their current job, regardless of where it takes place, does not make them happy. 

The Great Resignation 

Together these two groups are moving the workforce over a tipping point, which has led to a steadily increasing rate of mass resignations. In short, people now know that if they don’t like their job, they can go and find another one. 

Dissatisfaction with a job is not some form of manifestation of Millennial angst. It is endemic through all the working generations. Prior to the social media age, quitting a job and finding a new one was much more difficult, and our parents, and their parents, often just gritted their teeth and kept on working, counting down the days to retirement.  

Tenacious commitment and silent suffering are no longer the default setting for a career. Mobility is. The awareness that there are other jobs out there, other opportunities, in the same field or a totally different one, and that they are findable, is what is leading to growing numbers of mass resignations. 

The machine identity management burnout 

This sense of burnout is mostly evident in IT and security teams, which are now tasked to maintain the same level of security posture as it was when all employees, devices and data were hosted in the company’s safe premises. How can you ensure that when employees working from anywhere, using their own devices, access corporate resources using open internet connections? Sounds like nightmares coming true. 

Each of these non-human entities requesting access to data and apps need to be verified. That’s the reason why machine identities have skyrocketed. Together with the increase in volume, the effort to manage all these digital identities has also grown. It is obvious that manually provisioning, tracking and revoking all these assets is mission impossible. 

The managed PKI solution 

Fixing this problem should be as easy as freeing security teams up from their existing tasks in order to give them something more challenging and interesting.  

Managed PKI is a great case in point. PKI is one of those background activities that ensures security by building a public key infrastructure into certificate-based authentication. This allows people to safely log into a portal or get authentication for their VPN. It’s also quite labour intensive, requiring IT pros to build it and run it.  

This is why many companies turn to managed PKIs. These managed services take care of the maintenance and security of all machine identities allowing the IT pros to work on more challenging and productive tasks, or to allow them to be reassigned where they are urgently needed. 

It can be easy for a company to be drawn down into the weeds of IT. Whether it’s cloud migration, regular software maintenance and patching, or machine identity management—very quickly the tasks become mundane, and the demands on individuals start to grow. This can lead to costly security mistakes.  

Turning to as-a-service specialists fits the pattern of efficient delegation—allowing people to grow into their potential by handing off standardized tasks to others, which is what as-a-service basically is. Managed PKI comes with many more benefits, besides retaining your security staff: reduced costs, deploy industry best practices for managing machine identities, reduced operational and compliance risks. 

Venafi Zero Touch PKI is the solution you should seek to reduce the burnout of your security staff. Venafi Zero Touch PKI is a fully SaaS-based alternative to creating and running your own internal PKI. It can be configured and managed in any way you need, in conjunction with multiple CAs and with the options you need for security and traceability. Plus, this managed solution leverages the extensive experience of the creator and leader in machine identity management.  

If you wish to discover more, contact our experts. We will be glad to listen to your needs. 

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Steve Prentice
Steve Prentice
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