HomeBrand PostWhat is Certificate Lifecycle Management?

What is Certificate Lifecycle Management?


Key Takeaways
  • Certificate lifecycle management is crucial in protecting networks from cyber attacks by ensuring certificates do not lapse and create vulnerabilities.
  • SSL certificates utilize key pairs to authenticate users and encrypt data for network security, with a defined lifecycle including stages like creation, expiration, and renewal.
  • Automation of certificate management can enhance network security efficiency, with options like single SSL certificates or multi-domain certificates offered by companies like Sectigo for robust protection against cyber threats.

Certificate lifecycle management is the barrier between cyber attackers and your network. If a certificate’s lifecycle lapses, this can open vulnerabilities in your network that cybercriminals can exploit.

To better understand how vital it is to manage a certificate’s lifecycle, you’ll have to understand what an SSL certificate is as well as its lifecycle. Understanding certificates will help you better manage your network’s SSL certificates that guard against cyber criminals.

What is an SSL Certificate?

Public key infrastructures (PKI) contain Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates combined with key pairs. This combination of the SSL certificate and key pairs authenticates users and encrypts data to provide security for your network. The keys authenticate by sending and verifying digital signatures related to the SSL certificate. 

Installed on a server or cloud, the key pairs — one public key and one private key — are bound to the SSL certificate. The public key’s purpose is to verify the certificate’s information and digital signature of the device trying to make contact with the server or cloud. 

What is an SSL Certificate Lifecycle?

An SSL certificate does not exist infinitely. This finite existence must occur to enhance the security of your network better. Expiration periods exist to make it more difficult for cyber attackers to obtain and use the identities of these certificates. SSL certificates may go through some or all of these stages when a certificate for a device is needed:

  • Request
  • Creation
  • Issue
  • Storage
  • Verify
  • Expire
  • Replace
  • Renew
  • Revoke
  • Destroy

SSL certificate management requires constant vigilance when verifying the validity of certificates. A certificate manager renews or replaces expired certificates to be sure the SSL certificates are in place at all times. Once in a while, certificates may be revoked before expiration and destroyed to avoid continued use.

Cybersecurity experts can never stress enough that a certificate lifecycle must never lapse. There must be valid certificates for all devices on the network. If a certificate lapses, the interruption can lead to vulnerabilities in your network connections and invite a cyber attack.

How to be Proactive With Your Digital Security Strategy

Now, if you have a lot of devices on your network, that’s all the more certificates that you or your IT department must manage. It may not be cost-effective or efficient for your IT department to manage the certificates manually. Or, you may be a business owner who has to divert your time to other important facets of your business.

That’s when automating the certificate management lifecycle becomes practical. If you have an automated certificate management system in place, your network always stays secure. And instead of relying on spreadsheets or legacy certificate management tools, the automated certificate management system comes with a single pane of glass feature with all your certificate information being shuttled from all the devices on the network to a dashboard for viewing and processing.

Companies such as Sectigo can modernize how you maintain your SSL certificate and PKI management system while ensuring security for your business network. It’s possible to buy only the SSL certificates needed with the options that best secure your network.

  • Single SSL Certificates
  • Wildcard SSL Certificates
  • Multi-Domain SSL Certificates
  • Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificates
  • Organization Validation (OV) SSL Certificates
  • Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates

Don’t Wait to Improve Your SSL Certificate Manager

Cyber attackers are probing network connections for vulnerabilities they can take advantage of without risk or effort. So don’t let your business network fall into the hands of cybercriminals. Instead, improve or upgrade your SSL certificate manager today.

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