Buyer’s Guide for Machine Identity Management


Posted on February 2, 2022


How to choose the best platform to maximize flexibility, security and control

Organizations like yours are grappling with a tsunami of new keys and certificates necessary to support digital transformation. These critical security assets are used to identify and authorize machine-to- machine connections and communication, making them high value targets for cyber attackers and malicious insiders.

As the volume and variety of machine identities counts within the average organization continues to rise, it’s not unusual for organizations to have tens or even hundreds of thousands of identities. This rapid growth makes it exponentially harder to gain enterprisewide control of your machine identities. You can’t solve this challenge with point solutions that only address one part of the problem—you’ll only increase your risk of outage, breach, development delays and more. You need a comprehensive, enterprise-wide platform that delivers these four outcomes:

  • Stop Outages
  • Automate for Efficiency
  • Prevent Misuse and Compromise
  • Modernize with Speed and Agility

To realize these critical outcomes, your platform should deliver security, availability, and reliability and be designed for cloud first and cloud native environments. We’ve compiled a security checklist to help you select the most effective key and certificate orchestration solution for your organization.

Stop Outages

Do you have real-time visibility into all machine identities?

With limited visibility and tracking, certificates can unexpectedly expire, triggering critical service outages. If you don’t have the data you need to manage the entire certificate life cycle and proactively identify impending expiration dates, you can’t create dependable, proactive certificate renewal processes.

RECOMMENDATION: In-depth Discovery

Look for a solution that helps you discover TLS certificates wherever they are across broad global infrastructures and notifies certificate owners and other stakeholders when escalation actions are needed.

Do you know who owns each and every certificate in your organization?

A lack of visibility can make it nearly impossible for you to track certificate ownership to prevent outages. Or, if an administrator who controls a machine identity resigns, is terminated, or is reassigned, certificate ownership is in limbo. When one of these certificates expires, you won’t have enough information about the certificate to respond quickly.

RECOMMENDATION: Comprehensive inventory

With a solution that lets you locate and track certificate ownership, you’ll know where to assign appropriate actions. So when there is a problem with a certificate—such as a pending expiration—you’ll immediately know who is responsible for fixing it and you can track progress accordingly.

Does human error impact your compliance with security policies?

When you leave compliance in the hands of the various administrators who are responsible for the keys and certificates on the systems they control, policy enforcement will be inconsistent. And any lapse in policy compliance can leave a certificate vulnerable for an outage.

RECOMMENDATION: Policy-driven automation

Look for a solution that will help you minimize human error through automation. For the best results, automated policy enforcement should drive every aspect of your machine identity lifecycle.

Are you still trying to manually manage certificate workflows?

To avoid outages, it’s important that you automate the entire machine identity life cycle. If you try to manage certificates manually, you will increase the risk of experiencing certificate-related outages and security breaches.

RECOMMENDATION: Customizable workflows

Automating the life cycle allows you to avoid error- prone, resource-intensive manual actions that can leave the door open to certificate outages, while improving operations and security.

Are you waiting too long to find out about a certificate issue?

To maximize availability, it’s critical that you find and evaluate potential machine identity issues before they become business interruptions or exposures. Without alerts and notifications based on policy, you won’t be informed of unauthorized changes or impending actions in time to prevent negative impact.

RECOMMENDATION: Automated alerts

Automated alerts allow you to be proactive, taking immediate action before outages happen or attackers take advantage of weak or unprotected machine identities.

Ability to integrate or support all key IT technologies.

TLS certificates are used by nearly all the technology solutions that are deployed across your expanded network and security infrastructure. Each of these systems will go down if the certificates they are using expire.

RECOMMENDATION: Automated orchestration

You can improve the effectiveness of your network and security systems by integrating machine identity management and security, giving these crucial technologies easy access to up-to-date keys and certificates and machine identity intelligence.

Modernize with Speed and Agility

Do you have the agility to support modern development tools and methodologies?

Not all certificate management solutions are flexible enough to support the speed and agility requirements of application teams using containers and service mesh infrastructure. Plus, many of these solutions are not tightly integrated into DevOps and CI/DC pipeline tooling

RECOMMENDATION: DevOps toolset integrations

Look for a certificate management solution that integrates with popular development tools, like Kubernetes, Jenkins, Istio and Ansible. You’ll get centralized management, policy enforcement, and visibility of DevOps machine identities.

Can you easily find DevOps certificates wherever they exist?

Ideally, your inventory should include machine identities both within development and production environments. This is especially important for code signing certificates, where you need to maintain strict controls to avoid threats such as those experienced by SolarWinds.

RECOMMENDATION: Comprehensive discovery capabilities

Choose a solution that gives you a comprehensive, up-to-date view of all your machine identities, including those on virtual, cloud, mobile, and IoT infrastructures.

To read the rest of the guide…click here.

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