Network Security

Why companies are adopting the DevOps practice of using certificates as code

Why companies are adopting the DevOps practice of using certificates as code
Written by ga_dahmani
Why companies are adopting the DevOps practice of using certificates as code

As modern businesses adopt the DevOps movement, maintaining Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is increasingly becoming standard industry practice. CAR it means to the management and provision of technological infrastructure through automated and repeatable processes instead of manual ones. By tracking configuration instructions, such as operating system versions, network settings, and the like, similar to application source code, organizations can make improvements to their infrastructure in the blink of an eye. declarative Y deterministic way. Removing repetitive and error-prone steps from software deployment processes enables companies that practice IaC to iterate faster, more efficiently, and more effectively.

Since the benefits of this approach are so clear, a natural question would be “where else can I apply IaC principles?” There are many places left where you can create value for organizations, and one of the clearest examples is automated provisioning and maintenance of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates.

While a modern PKI and capable certificate management system is necessary to even consider this path, such a platform also needs rich application programming interfaces (APIs) to facilitate interaction with existing IaC tools. By developing scripts and workflows with Ansible, Puppet, or similar offerings, organizations can orchestrate complex processes, including PKI certificate deployment and replacement.

Although they have some unique characteristics, PKI certificates are just another type of infrastructure, which makes the use of “Certificates as Code” a viable option. Such certificate management with IaC practices can provide substantial benefits in terms of security, reliability, and maintainability.

PKI certificates are a critical layer in protecting global Internet communications. By facilitating encrypted communications with Transport Layer Security (TLS), they secure the confidentiality and integrity of emails, financial transactions and other network traffic. In addition, they facilitate the identification and authentication of individual users and machines, preventing malicious actors from impersonating others.

However, their inherent usefulness has made them a ubiquitous feature of all networks and organizations. the burst in the number of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices, as well as the solidification of zero trust architectures as a cybersecurity best practice, have led to a massive increase in the number of required PKI certificates. As a result, organizations can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of certificates they need to manage.

Maintaining proper security requires rotation of certificates, and manual processes will almost certainly fail under this load. This is an even more common problem today due to the recent decisions of many browsers a Stop accept certificates with maturity periods greater than thirteen months. Finally, attempting to mitigate the problems caused by certificate proliferation through techniques such as implementing “wildcard” certificates can in itself to create security breaches.

Given these cybersecurity challenges, the best solution is to automate the lifecycle of your PKI infrastructure using IaC practices. Being able to generate certificates on demand, especially through a built-in Certificate Authority (CA), is critical to facilitating this. Fortunately, EJBCA Company only allow this. In addition to protecting your business, IaC-enabled solutions can also improve reliability and reduce maintenance costs.

Most organizations face outages costing million dollars due to the expiration of their certificates, a trend that is likely to continue due to the aforementioned reduction in the useful life of TLS certificates. However, on-premises solutions, whether spreadsheet-based or in-house developed applications, have a poor track record when it comes to avoiding these kinds of mishaps. Only with a fully automated system can you have confidence in the reliability of your infrastructure. In addition to accessible APIs and current enrollment protocols, appropriate solutions must be able to real-time certificate discovery and end to end machine identity management to ensure your infrastructure is secure and up-to-date. By implementing certificate-as-code practices using dedicated certificate lifecycle management, companies can minimize Costly downtime resulting from certificate expiration and rotation requirements.

Finally, even without the risk of an outage, applying IaC practices to your PKI and certificates can provide significant benefits by reducing maintenance costs. Support for IAC practices maintainability generally due to the fact that time-consuming manual workflows can be tracked, modified and activated at scale instead of one by one. As the saying goes, treat servers and software like cattle, not like pets”. By applying this mindset to certificate management, organizations can treat certificates as interchangeable products rather than single snowflakes that require laborious maintenance, saving time and effort. By minimizing “effort”, industry leaders can free up their teams to work on higher value activities.

Especially since it takes about one full-time employee to manage 100 PKI certificates manually, these cost savings can add up quickly. Plus, by being able to rotate and manage your PKI infrastructure faster, you can focus on delivering products and services to your customers instead of tedious IT tasks. However, to facilitate this level of seamless automation, you’ll need software with ready-to-deploy integrations. A CA like EJBCA Company facilitates automated certificate generation, enabling your organization to manage PKI operations at scale. when connected with key factor commandThese tools provide centralized visibility, policy control, and automation for all certificates, regardless of where they reside or are issued from.

Modern technologists have fully embraced IaC as the optimal solution for deploying and operating software, enabling businesses to deliver value faster and more efficiently. By storing infrastructure configurations in version-controlled repositories, scripting complex operations using a declarative approach, and orchestrating network maintenance and updates through API-based integrations, enterprises can eliminate large amounts of manual work that was previously necessary. Using an API-equipped certificate management system, companies can also apply this approach to their PKI infrastructure, implementing certificates as code. These advanced approaches have great benefits in terms of security, reliability, and maintainability that quickly pay off any initial investment required to implement them.

Ready to learn more? Contact Us to discover how Keyfactor Command, EJBCA Enterprise, and other offerings can help you get started saving time and money when implementing IaC practices for full-spectrum PKI management.

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