In this digital age, it is critical to authenticate users, devices, and organizations for security reasons. Even if it is for connecting to a Wi-Fi or for any business transaction, it is necessary. Without a security protocol, it can be a huge loss to the business.
There are several ways to authenticate users, but one of the most reliable and secure ways is via a pki certificate. It’s a digital certificate that consists of a pair of keys such as a private key and public key and issued by a Certificate Authority.
Most of the businesses are now focusing on building a PKI security solution for their organization. However, scalability is one of the rising concerns which you are going to learn in this article.
Build a Scalable PKI
There are many managed PKI solutions that offer security solutions to businesses for various purposes, such as identifying a user or scalability. However, you may want to build your own private PKI. Follow the below five steps for building a scalable PKI solution for your business.
- Multiple Certificate Authority
As your business grows, it can be difficult to handle digital certificates with a single Certificate Authority. Large companies have separate CAs for different purposes, such as email security, login authentication, file encryption, etc.
One CA cannot function efficiently to encrypt and secure a large number of employees, devices, etc. In such cases, a hierarchical structure of CA will be efficient where there is a root CA and multiple intermediary CAs. The intermediary CAs will issue digital certificates to the end-users or devices.
- Use a Latest Security Protocol
When you are designing a PKI system, use the latest security protocol. Using an outdated security protocol like SSL (Security Sockets Layer) can be riskier for your business. The security protocol has evolved over the years from SSL to TLS (Transport Layer Security).
The TLS has multiple versions from TLS 1.0 to TLS 1.3. Consider using at least TLS 1.1 in the initial stage, which you can upgrade to the latest version later.
- Consider a High Capacity Hardware
Next, you need to consider the capacity of hardware that will be used for issuing and storing digital certificates. If you are planning to provide web services, then the hardware must be of very high capacity.
When you are offering web services, you will issue a large number of digital certificates. It will put a high processing load on the hardware device. On top of that, there will be a high frequency of certificate revocation. So you need high capacity hardware that can sustain the processing load.
- PKI Must Be of Common Standard
Another key factor is to consider building a PKI with a common standard. PKI standard defines the formant and distribution process of digital certificates. A common standard like X.509 is suitable for scalable PKI. More importantly, a PKI system with such standards can be easily integrated with other CAs.
- Consider the Fault Tolerance
Finally, considering the fault tolerance is crucial for providing continuous issuance of digital certificates even if the CAs servers are down. That means, when your organization grows, sometimes you CAs may not be available for the disruption of a valid certificate.
In such cases, you can use a method that can manage the functions of the CA during the server down. For example, you can use server clustering and disk fault tolerance for this purpose.
Designing a scalable PKI is crucial for large businesses. It allows you more control, and you can quickly issue digital certificates. If you know the different requirements for building a scalable PKI solution, things will be easier to handle. I hope the above information has helped you to understand different considerations for a scalable PKI system. If you have any queries, ask them, and please give your valuable feedback in the comment section.
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