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Blog Post Mar 22, 2024

The importance of integrating Certificate Lifecycle Management into your ecosytem

Certificate lifecycle management (CLM) ensures control over digital certificates. Automated solutions streamline lifecycle processes, requiring versatile integrations for optimal management in today's complex digital ecosystem.

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Certificate lifecycle management (CLM) provides a powerful opportunity to achieve maximum visibility and control over a critical, but difficult-to-manage component of cybersecurity and information assurance: digital certificates. These play a crucial role in establishing secure environments — but as they grow more complex and as their lifespans diminish, keeping track of them becomes increasingly difficult — and expirations and outages become an even bigger possibility.

Automated solutions promise to bridge the gap by streamlining all aspects of the certificate lifecycle: provisioning, discovery, deployment, and beyond. Not just any automated approach will do, however. Certificate lifecycle automation solutions must be capable of fulfilling complex multi-vendor requirements. From certificate authorities to web servers, cloud providers, and other essentials, compatibility is a must across the full expanse of the ever-growing digital ecosystem.

Good news: it is more than possible to manage digital certificates at scale — and without compromising coverage due to vendor concerns. The answer lies with versatile integrations, which should be a priority when selecting a CLM platform. Keep reading to discover how technology integrations amplify the already powerful possibilities of enterprise certificate management.

Benefits of CLM technology integrations

Today's organizations are tasked with issuing and tracking a wide range of digital certificates, which span a surprisingly vast and intricate ecosystem. The complex technology stack can be difficult to understand, and even experienced IT professionals may struggle to keep these systems under control.

Further complicating matters? While digital certificates are consistently important in every corner of the digital ecosystem, different types of certificates serve dramatically different purposes. This can make them even more difficult to track and maintain.

Many technologies need to function seamlessly alongside CLM. For example: DevOps environments may call for nuanced integration involving RESTful APIs. This allows for flexible connections and interactions within a distributed environment. Furthermore, interoperability needs to be a priority to accommodate a growing range of mobile platforms and cloud providers. Moving forward, integration priorities will include:

Enable crypto agility

Crypto agility determines whether systems are capable of swiftly adapting to various cryptographic algorithms without prompting disruptions to the overarching infrastructure. When this is achieved, cryptographic components can be promptly adjusted based on the situation at hand. This is a must in the face of emerging threats and evolving compliance standards.

A robust public key infrastructure (PKI) is an important step in achieving crypto agility, but integrated CLM automation is also a must; this provides greater oversight to help ensure that across the vast digital ecosystem, all certificates are both known and managed properly.

Reduce complexity

In an increasingly complex digital landscape, vendor consolidation encourages simplifying and streamlining. By procuring from fewer providers and selecting these more strategically, enterprises can limit management concerns while ensuring that security and compliance remain straightforward.

Each additional system presents an increased potential for errors, but when a few highly reputable solutions are selected, peace of mind is possible. Chief among these: an integration-friendly CLM that functions as a universal platform for managing all digital certificate lifecycles from a single interface. Abundant use cases make this a realistic strategy for a variety of enterprises and within many sectors.

Ensure compliance

In addition to opening the door to a greater range of security vulnerabilities, an abundance of vendors can also present distinct compliance concerns. When a robust CLM facilitates vendor consolidation, however, these compliance challenges become a thing of the past. Ideally, integrated solutions will facilitate compliance with a variety of standards and regulations, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and more.

Gain efficiency with resources

Inefficient certificate management processes often involve time-consuming manual oversight. Constant modifications are difficult to monitor, and yet, due to integration concerns, many enterprises continue to rely on inefficient and impractical tools for management. Integrated and consolidated systems bring the benefits of automation to a variety of functions while streamlining workflows and communication every step of the way.

Types of integrations

Integration needs can vary dramatically from one enterprise to the next. Understanding integration priorities is essential when selecting an automated CLM platform, although, when in doubt, solutions that promise a wide range of integrations are preferable. The following are among the most sought-after integrations:

  • Certificate authorities. Choosing a CA-agnostic platform is important. Under this setup, CLM tools are prepared to handle certificates from a range of Certificate Authorities — both public and private.

  • Cloud providers. From Amazon Web Services to Microsoft Azure and beyond, a certificate lifecycle management platform should reliably integrate with a range of cloud providers. This, in turn, allows enterprises to select and make the most of cloud solutions that align with their unique goals and preferences.

  • Key vaults. Azure Key Vault provides a reliable solution for safeguarding cryptographic keys and storing vulnerable credentials. This facilitates tightly controlled access without compromising availability for authorized users. The ideal integrated solution will allow for the seamless management of both SSL keys and Azure application keys while maintaining access from a single platform.

  • DevOps tools. The pace of the development lifecycle should not be compromised by cumbersome certificate management processes. Seamless integration with various DevOps platforms or tools can protect containers and code while reliably issuing (and revoking) certificates at scale. When platforms like Ansible, which automates IT tasks, integrate with a CLM platform, tasks like certificate discovery and renewal are much more simple.

  • Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM). Today's organizations need to manage mobile device and application interactions within a vast and complex infrastructure. EMM expands remote access without compromising security. CLMs should provide integration opportunities within Android, iOS, and other mobile environments.

  • Email security. Email has long represented a top weakness in otherwise robust security solutions. CLM integration makes it easier to protect email communication via SSL/TLS certificates. Integration options typically include Outlook and Gmail, although communication channels such as Slack and Microsoft Teams should also be taken into account to facilitate instant and secure notifications.

  • Load balancers and firewalls. Load balancers enhance application performance via the even distribution of loads between servers. Meanwhile, firewalls monitor traffic and block it as needed, making them a crucial part of any enterprise ecosystem. Integrations with these types of platforms help to strengthen an enterprise’s security stance.

  • IT Service Management (ITSM). Platforms such as ServiceNow support the creation and delivery of crucial IT services while coordinating a seemingly endless array of IT processes. When certificate renewal and provisioning take place within a solid ITSM framework, an impressive security posture will be well within reach.

Standards and protocols. Automated CLM platforms should support the latest industry standards and protocols. For example, the ACME protocol is a protocol designed to automate certificate lifecycle management communications between Certificate Authorities and anywhere PKI certificates are used.

How to integrate with Sectigo Certificate Manager

A well-integrated certificate lifecycle management solution delivers an efficient and reliable approach to provisioning and renewing certificates across an ever-growing digital ecosystem. This grants your organization the flexibility to select and work with preferred platforms or services while also facilitating the advantages of crypto agility and vendor consolidation.

Sectigo's vast integration network makes it possible to apply the advantages of high-level certificate management to your current systems and processes, thereby establishing digital trust across the full scope of your current network architecture. Learn more about our abundant integration options as you discover the power of the CA-agnostic Sectigo Certificate Manager (SCM) platform.

Want to learn more? Get in touch to book a demo of Sectigo Certificate Manager!

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