5 Reasons Why Using Certificate-Based Security Makes Sense for Your Network

When it comes to running an organization, lots of good things are optional: healthy snacks in the break room, monthly shared birthday parties, chairs with good lumbar support. But some things are anything but optional, and network security is one of them. With data privacy regulations, threats from hackers and unscrupulous competitors, and the simple need to protect your organization's assets and reputation, it's never been more important to find a network security solution that actually delivers on what it claims. Thankfully, there's a mainstay of internet security you can actually rely on: digital certificates. Read on to learn why certificate-based security may be just the thing to keep your network safe.

  1. They've been around for a long time — and that's actually a good thing

    It often seems that technological advancement makes everything from yesterday obsolete. After all, first generation car phones look positively primitive next to modern smart phones! But some technologies have actually stood the test of time, and digital certificates are one of them. Public key cryptography came onto the scene in the late 70s. In the late 80s, a joint initiative of public agencies and private enterprises began working on a network security principle based on the use of public key cryptography and digital certificates—this later became TSL. Not long after, SSL (a public-key based protocol for web security) was developed by Netscape to enable secure browsing on the growing worldwide web. Digital certificates are foundational technology for the internet as we know it.

    Advancements in cloud computing and automation have overcome what used to be usability limitations for a certificate-based security approach, making it more appealing than ever. The public key infrastructure (PKI) that undergirds certificate functionality is based on enduring mathematical principles that, when backed by the right level of encryption, are essentially a brick wall for cyber crooks. Digital certificates are still around for a reason, and you owe it to your organization to find out why.

  2. It's versatile

    You're probably familiar with SSL or TLS certificates in the context of keeping web traffic safe. While this is indeed a major use case for certificates, digital certificates can do so much more. From securing an organization's intranet, to ensuring the integrity of transmitted data, to vetting and safeguarding external servers and so much more, there aren't many aspects of network security that a certificate-based approach can't address. Plus, the right solution provider will likely provide certificate options that are tailor-made to your needs and enhanced with automation features, protecting your resources and eliminating the need for additional spend on infrastructure or new personnel. And since PKI has been around for so long, it's unlikely that compatibility issues will emerge with your existing software or network infrastructure.

  3. It's not just for PCs
  4. While a user's PC is an endpoint that absolutely needs to be secured on your network, recent breaches and the expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) in today's enterprises have shown that a modern network has far more endpoints than it used to — which means far more vulnerabilities and potential blind spots for bad actors to exploit. Luckily, digital certificates are perfect for securing both “smart” devices and “dumb” legacy devices on your network, in addition to external servers and network infrastructure like routers and network switches, to make sure that only authorized users have access to your resources and valuable data.

  5. It can relieve user burden

    When you implement certificate-based access policies for your organization, you may be able to cut down on friction from complex log-ins. Employees are accessing your network from more places and devices than ever. Managing this network sprawl through security measures requiring lengthy login processes can result in headaches for users, especially considering the inefficiencies that can emerge when you layer security solutions on top of one another. And when users experience friction, they look for ways to minimize it on their own, including using weak passwords or sidestepping policies wherever possible. That's why looking to certificate-based options for network access helps minimize the burden on users while preserving the integrity of the network is such a good idea.

  6. You've got options

    Because certificate-based security is so well-established in the marketplace, there are plenty of choices when it comes to implementing a solution for your network. If you're a large enterprise with a great deal of complexity in your network, your wants and needs will necessarily be different than those of a mid-size organization with one location and a simpler network structure. Ultimately, your choice of solution should come down to the usability, reputation, cost and pricing structure, and scalability of the offering.

For more information on how you can secure your network, reduce your user burden, protect your data's integrity, and use the right criteria to find a certificate-based solution for your organization, make sure to check out this webinar.

Get the latest blogs on identity and access management delivered straight to your inbox.

Mrugesh Chandarana is a Senior Product Manager, Identity and Access Management Solutions at HID Global, where he focuses on IoT and PKI solutions. He has more than 10 years of cybersecurity industry experience in areas such as Risk Management, Threat and Vulnerability Management, Application Security and PKI. He has held product management positions at RiskSense, WhiteHat Security (acquired by NTT Security), and RiskVision (acquired by Resolver, Inc.).