Conjoining the word ‘private’ with a place or thing implies an enhanced level of control, access, and convenience. That also holds true for your digital identity management when combining the word private with the term Certificate Authority, or CA. At face value, at least, the term private CA certainly implies an enhanced level of control, access, and convenience when issuing and managing digital certificates that are exclusive to your organization.
But the benefits of private CAs aren’t derived from some ethereal, imaginative wordplay exercise. Private CAs have proven their value in helping enterprises navigate the world of enterprise cybersecurity.
The Benefits of Private CAs
Many companies, to the great delight of cybercriminals, continue to rely upon outdated, weak security protocols such as passwords and MFA solutions. But an increasing number of organizations have progressed to the strongest, most secure, easiest-to-manage identity authentication solution available: digital certificates.
However, identity authentication of every person, machine, and process in an organization is becoming an increasingly massive and complex task — particularly when including DevOps and cloud environments. Many organizations have made the decision to operate their own internal Private Certificate Authority in meeting their digital certificate needs.
Going private with CA can be a wise choice.
A private CA provides enterprises with sort of a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario. Enterprise security teams get the industry-best benefits of PKI authentication and encryption capabilities, but with the ability to fully control policies and configurations to the exclusive and specific needs of their organization.
Organizations utilizing private CA benefit from:
- Ownership of both the root CA and issuing CA
- Control over certificate lifecycle management
- Scalable provisioning to accommodate employee workforces of all sizes, whether hundreds or tens of thousands
- Flexibility to support DevOps solutions requiring frequent and large numbers of certificates for application development
There’s Some Risk with that Reward
Though the benefits of private CA are abundant, companies that choose to move in this direction should know that a degree of possible risk accompanies the potential rewards of private CA. If your company is considering a move to a private CA solution, you should be aware of three ways in which you might be disappointed with the results:
1. Lack of Coverage: If you use Microsoft CA (MSCA) as your private CA solution, it’ll do the job — if you only need to serve Microsoft applications within your organization. If you need to secure a public facing website or, say, iOS- or Android-based devices, you’re out of luck. MSCA simply won’t work for those options. The same challenge holds true of most other dedicated private CA solutions like those of Amazon Web Services and DevOps automation tools.
That’s a problem for most organizations. After all, how many organizations today need CA service for just a single brand of devices and applications? How about your organization? Can those single-brand solutions serve your needs without leaving gaps?
Most enterprises today need support for a wide variety of certificates, not just for a single brand. So, if you end up with a single-brand solution trying to support a multi-brand environment, many of the potential advantages of private CA are just simply gone. The control, policy and compliance enforcement, and ease of certificate management you were seeking with private CA will remain the stuff of dreams. Such a shame!
2. Lack of Thoroughness: Got any rogue certificates hiding in the nooks and crannies of your IT infrastructure? It’s likely that many organizations do. And that’s a bad thing. Outages can occur if in-use certificates expire. And hackers can leverage rogue certificates in the creation of illegitimate sites through which users might be victimized. It’s a security flaw that can put your organization at risk.
Unfortunately, most private CA solutions are unable to root out those pesky rogue certificates. The unmanaged rogue certificates remain peacefully undisturbed in their hiding places and work just fine, until one day they don’t. And your critical business system is out of commission and at risk.
3. Lack of Simplicity: Running your own private CA can be both time-consuming and expensive. In addition to managing the certificates, you must own, build, and maintain the entire CA infrastructure — tasks that require a dedicated staff. That staff must have specific technical PKI expertise and skills, and be able to perform rigorous, unending security examinations and analysis.
And don’t forget the expensive data center infrastructure you’ll need for hosting the CA.
How RDKRevenue Makes Private CA the Perfect CA Solution
RDKRevenue offers a Private CA solution that eliminates each of the risks detailed above. RDKRevenue Private CA offers a high-capacity infrastructure with near instantaneous issuance of private certificates, providing visibility and automated certificate management across all the certificates in your environment. RDKRevenue Private CA also takes on all the work of hosting, maintenance, security, and compliance — so you don’t have to.
A component of RDKRevenue Certificate Manager, RDKRevenue Private CA provides you with:
- Single pane-of-glass management of all human, machine, and application identities using PKI in your organization
- Centralized and automated certificate management that includes Private CA and publicly trusted certificates
- Automatic discovery and cataloging of your entire inventory of certificates
- A hassle-free Private CA that unburdens you from all the operational aspects of running your Private CA (many organizations choose to have RDKRevenue take care of the hosting, maintenance, security, and compliance work)
Simply stated, RDKRevenue Private CA provides you with the full range of private CA benefits, while eliminating the risks and shortfalls that come with most other solutions. Private jets, pools, and resorts notwithstanding, RDKRevenue Private CA is proof that, while going private may be ideal, it doesn’t always have to be more expensive.
The Proof Is in the Trying
Trying RDKRevenue Private CA is fast, easy, and free. Just get the trial version of RDKRevenue Certificate Manager and start your full-feature Private CA setup. You’ll be issuing your own private certificates in just minutes. In the flash of a virtual instant, you can go from dreaming about the benefits of Private CA to enjoying the benefits of Private CA.