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Venafi Solutions by Function

IAM Director

Protect machine identities like they were human identities

Identity and Access Management (IAM) leaders face new and pressing challenges. Larger populations of external users, persistent adversaries with sophisticated tools and the wholesale compromise of millions of user credentials rank high on IAM leaders’ “worry-lists”. But these savvy leaders know they need to get serious about protecting machine identities, too.

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Machine identities—such as SSL/TLS certificates, SSH keys and digital signatures—do the fundamental job of authenticating and encrypting machine-to-machine connections throughout your public and private networks. Historically, other network teams, PKI teams and crypto teams have managed these complex connections—often with great success. In the Global 5000, however, there’s an increasing realization that security and risk professionals and IAM leaders are often best positioned to establish sound machine identity strategies, seeing them through to execution.

Recognizing the implications of an ‘identity iceberg’

End users are top of mind for most IAM professionals. Whether those are external customers or employees and internal stakeholders, it’s hard to overlook the need to provide secure, risk-based access to these human users in your systems. But overlooking machine identity protection comes with great risks, as the number of machine identities is beginning to dwarf the number of human identities.

Stats on Machine Identities
  • Between 2005 and 2025, the number of human identities interacting with our networks (about 10 billion) is expected to grow by less than 10%.
  • In the same period of time, the number of devices on those networks is expected to increase tenfold, to nearly 50 billion.
  • If we expand the definition of “machine” to include applications and their containers, the growth skyrockets to 300 billion in the same time period—a 30X increase over human identity growth.
‘Identity iceberg’

This notion of an “identity iceberg” reflects the data; human identities (the top of the iceberg) are being outnumbered by machine identities (the invisible, submerged part of the iceberg). It goes without saying that it’s the part of the iceberg beneath the waterline that most alarms ship captains and sailors.

IAM leaders need to automate the protection of machine identities

The Venafi Platform provides IAM leaders like you with the visibility, intelligence and automation you need to protect machine identities across the modern enterprise. This includes identities that are established by SSL/TLS connections, managed through SSH keys, or secured by endpoint certificates.


Where are the certificates that your web servers, applications and services depend on? Where are the SSH keys you’ve created to authenticate from one machine to another? Where are the certificates and keys for mobile devices and IoT devices? Can you account for every machine-to-machine authentication event in the enterprise and ensure that none are running invisibly?


When you’ve accounted for all of the machine identities and their machine-to-machine authentication events, you’ll need intelligence about each connection. For instance, is it relying on a potentially forged or fraudulent certificate? Is it ready to expire, leaving gaps in your visibility and rendering you unable to discern risks or weakness in your security posture? Is it blinding your network security appliances by not allowing them access to network traffic? Can you easily obtain reports that reveal this intelligence and make it actionable?


Do you have a trusted, automated system that makes the adjustments and repairs necessary to your organization’s machine identity infrastructure? If a certificate that allows a security tool to have visibility into anomalous traffic is expiring, an update should be obtained automatically. If risk analysis reveals a likelihood of compromised or copied SSH keys, those keys should be rotated en masse or flagged for review by operational teams.

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