CLM PKI Management

Certificate Lifecycle Management systems (CLM/CLMS), also called Certificate Management Systems (CMS), provide that support. They allow admins to manage every part of the lifecycle for an individual certificate while maintaining a broader perspective on the state of the network.

Why CLM?

  • Machine Identity is at the core of enterprise cybersecurity.
  • You may have the most advanced IAM, antivirus, and firewall solutions, but if machine identities are not managed correctly, applications and devices cannot communicate securely.
  • Digital certificates and keys are what establish machine identities, which is where certificate lifecycle management comes in.
  • Other reasons besides cybersecurity include compliance, and audit saved money on not having to deal with Mis (major incidents) that result due to devices having issues with certs.

Business Need

Everything requires certificate to keep your enterprise secure

  • Maintaining entire certificate lifecycle for thousands of nodes, ranging from printers, video conferencing equipment, security systems, scanners, laptops (MAC, Windows), IoT is not exactly walk in the park.  Having some type of identifiable asset based on verifiable signed certificate signature, is the key to implementing security within the enterprise organization, regardless of if it’s on premise or in cloud.
  • Many companies realize that this is a complex need, and are undergoing complex projects that involve not only rolling out certificates, but also securing their devices based on the device type, certificate signature and other characteristics.

Problems Companies Experience when it comes to Certificate Lifecycle Management & Security

Non experienced traditional IT networking staff

  • One of the interesting things that we have noticed in the process of our interactions with customers, is that majority of the workload effort associated with securing entire on premise enterprise falls into responsibilities of inexperienced team members.
  • For example, some financial companies assign this work of security company’s devices to traditional network engineers.  Yet the problem with that is the fact that the traditional network engineers are not coders, neither do they have the eccentric security expertise to decipher why some of the certificates simply don’t work in one instance while working in the other.  This is partially because traditional network engineers are spending most of the time on the archaic routers and switches, and devices that have locked down operating systems.  
  • Where every operating system is unique depending on the device you log into, where some operating systems support certificates one way, but others support the other way.
  • The worth part about it, is the fact that when CTOs and CIOs assign this type of work to network engineers to roll our certificates and secure them is the fact that they don’t even realize the underlining complexity. 
  • Such nonrealization leads to many of such certificate security based projects to infinite run time.  Resulting in higher risk for the company.

No Automation expertise across multiple operating systems

  • This is no secret, that when it comes to certificate lifecycle process and security of endpoint nodes based on certificate, it is an absolute must to have some type of automation skills.  Yet the problem is, traditional network engineers do not have that skill.   
  • Companies end up hiring network engineers with expectation that they can bring such expertise in house.  Yet the reality of it all is the fact that network engineers are busy with other tasks, beyond just babysitting certificate lifecycle management process.
  • Many companies don’t realize that and end up expecting network engineers to also be automation experts.  Yet they reality is, such engineers never were automation experts and never will be the automation experts unless their role significantly changes.
  • Network Engineers are mostly focused on connecting devices and offices and protecting assets on so many other layers beyond maintaining CLM and PKI.
  • Multiple devices running across not only one operating system, but multiple operating systems.  
  • Printers may have one type of way for creating CSR, video conferencing systems have other ways, phones have other ways, Laptops other ways… you get the picture…
  • The problem is… traditional network engineers don’t know how to navigate across all these operating systems and install certs into cloud or on premise-based systems, and even if they do to some degree, that doesn’t help either many of them leave the company way before the cert expires leaving CTOs and CIOs and IT Directors under the gun hoping that the cert does not expire.

No CLM Data Analytics Expertise in house

  • One of the interesting things that we have discovered while interviewing many of the financial organizations is that they are attempting to solve certificate renewal problems without use of CLM and PKI data analytics expertise. 
  • What’s even shocking is that many of such companies, don’t even use products like SumoLogic or Splunk or DataDog, and simply hope for the best by relying on a single vendor such as Forescout or CiscoISE to tackle security of assets, without knowing the overall state and progression of CLM progress across multiple cloud and on premise data sources.
  • Not relying on advanced data analytics platforms to track progress, slice and dice the data and perform machine learning functions is a colossal mistake, but then again, many traditional engineers are simply not aware of this shift in dynamics, and instead prefer to log into multiple systems to track 802.1x deployment progress, only to find themselves overwhelmed by the scale and complexity of different types of certificate related issues and operating systems kinks.
  • The fact that this is happening across the industries is absolutely mind boggling. 
  • What’s even more mind boggling is the expectation that many of such companies have for network engineers that are not well versed in Data Analytics expertise, unless they happen to be IT Generalists.
  • What’s even more shocking is that even after they recognize the need for CLM Data Analytics expertise in combination with cyber security and network engineering expertise, they still expect for traditional network engineers to solve the problems based on the skill set that such traditional network engineers simply do not have.
  • The best comparison that we can make to this is like asking a user to decide what’s best for the Enterprise Security & CLM.
The users may always want a faster horse, when in reality they need a faster car.

High costs for maintaining CLM and PKI infrastructure

  • The other problem that we discovered while interviewing many financial companies and obtaining their struggle experiences when it comes to Certificate LifeCycle Management and security is the fact that the costs for maintaining certs and security endpoint nodes is very high.
  • Traditional network engineers who company’s rely on, often struggle to secure devices due to many devices either not supporting certificates, are devices not being 802.1x friendly.
  • Plus the NAC appliances and systems and management of such system is another colossal responsibility.
  • Anytime cert expires engineers must recall methods for renewing certs, the process that perhaps was done many years ago.  People forget, people leave, and description of the cert is also difficult to understand, as well as what the cert actually does and what it’s function.
  • Scripts that use to work to automatically renew certs either no longer work due to some code library expiring or vulnerability finding in the system, or Operating System upgrade or many other reasons.
  • Network Engineers are simply not equipped to deal with so many different types of issues and nodes all that while maintaining security and interconnectivity of their organization.
  • The costs for constant Major Incidents resulting from certs expiring becomes astronomical if you spread this cost across thousands of nodes.
  • When certs expire, we are talking not only possibility for major incident, but possibility of asset infiltration.  We are talking possibility of higher loss of data, assets, and loss of company’s reputation.
  • Surely no CTO/CIO or IT Director/Manager would want to be in the position of having to be responsible for simply not renewing the cert.
  • Plus the cost for on shore network engineers or even other internal resources who are simply not specializing in CLM & PKI Cyber Security Data Analytics yet assigned to such project can quickly get out of control.  Due to the fact that every operating system has different methods of integration, knowledge of APIs, and CI/CD best practices.
  • All that in combination of deep level understanding about the asset that is being secured.

No deep level knowledge with the actual NAC systems

  • What we found funny is that when companies interview traditional engineers for not so traditional role, they ask questions such as, how Dot1x works, what commands are configured on the switch port, and use this as the gauging exercise for determining which candidate happens to answer the most questions.
  • What such companies do not understand is the fact that knowing how 802.1x works and what ports are configured is the least of their problems.
  • In fact what we found from our experiences is that once you deploy 802.1x config on the switch port from the template, you rarely ever touch it and most of the troubleshooting is done outside of the switch itself, but rather in a customized data analytics tool.  Surprisingly companies didn’t catch on to this certificate troubleshooting data analytics trend yet and still expecting flawless responses from their traditional network engineering candidates who they interview for something that makes up very small portion of the entire problem set, when in reality such companies should be focusing on IT Generalistic related questions pertaining to troubleshooting 802.1x related issues.
  • Another thing that we found astonishing is the fact that many financial organizations and other industries have heavily invested into NAC systems that rely on certificates for security of endpoints. 
  • Yet the reality of it all is that many of such systems are only partially integrated to provide the best value for it’s money.
  • As a result, companies paying for expensive licenses to maintain such distributed NAC systems and not getting much value.
  • Simply because no body is deploying certs, or if somebody is deploying certs that is happening across multiple teams, without any centralized CLM and PKI control.
  • For example desktop engineering team maybe deploying certs on all the windows and MAC laptops, while Site reliability team is deploying certs on cloud load balancers, API Gateways and other cloudy things.
  • Yet the actual meaning for each cert and how the cert effects the entire system as a whole is not documented anywhere.  
  • Who generate the cert is also not documented.
  • No central ticketing system that is integrated with the CLM and PKI best practices.
  • No authenticity in context of who generate the cert what team, why, where many of these questions are disconnected and scattered all over the enterprise.
  • Network Engineers are attempting to use the NAC systems that are just simply speaking… disconnected from all the other pieces.
  • In fact many of the network engineers in some companies do not even know how all the pieces come together and how much further NAC system can be integrated to minimize risk.
  • For example systems can be integrated with additional level of security checking beyond just certificates, but rely on other integrations with Azure, Stealthwatch, MDM systems and a lot more.
  • As a result many of such NAC systems simply act like gateways that only allow or deny access based on if cert is present or not present, vs relying on additional custom built machine learning heuristics and behavioral data analytics endpoint characteristics that can only granularly be discovered and identified in context of creating unique customizable per application signatures.
  • For example if a company has a device that is an endpoint, that gets plugged into the switch and that device is custom built and so is the App on top of it that has custom characteristics for what is normal and what is not in context of it’s communications with other apps.
  • The trouble is many NAC systems simply can’t identify what is normal and what is not.  
  • Such level of identification for custom built devices, requires creation of custom signatures that identify device behavior not just based on certificate, but also based on behavioral patterns.
  • Surely many traditional network engineers and IT managers who assign projects to such engineers don’t even realize underlining level of complexity of such multi prong security strategies beyond certificates, and that is indeed possible to enhance security beyond of simply relying on the cert that may inadvertently end up getting expired.
  • The result of such non-realization is a risk to many companies…

Reliance on certificates that expire in 5 to 10 to 20 years

  • Many companies that we worked with in the past, used a simple concept of generating certificates and making them valid for many years. 
  • Nothing wrong with that approach, providing that whomever is still going to be employed 5 to 10, 20 years from now will be able to decipher how to renew the cert.
  • Yet the reality is, cert process for renewal is forgotten.  
  • Creating automation software that renews certificates automatically is not exactly walk in the park.
  • Companies know and aware of the fact that they must renew certs as often as possible and be notified if the cert renewal does not take place with valid amount of time to respond.
  • Yet the reality of it all, even with such realization still companies chose to bypass the best practices and instead make the cert valid or many years.
  • The consequence of that is a higher risk that is only pushed down the road.
  • Creating automation job that can renew the cert is no longer just about knowing how it’s done on the GUI level for individual device.
  • Creating renewable cert require interfacing with the PKI, signing the CSR and infusing the cert into the system, with the right format, as well as validating that the cert is actually working, and continuously validating it, by dynamically invoking customized testing scripts that check the validity.
  • Some devices may support APIs, some may support webhooks, some support CSRs, some support no CSRs, some are cloud based, some have different concept all together for authenticity.
  • Once again this is not exactly easy thing to do.  So many companies skip this.  Skipping this is a risk.

No predefined Road Map for CLM and PKI Management

  • Managing PKI infrastructure is only small part of the puzzle, in fact many companies already are managing their PKI infrastructure and already have internal PKI deployed.
  • Sure problems can happen on PKI itself, but the biggest problem that many IT managers experience is lack of roadmap for how to actually manage the whole CLM and PKI, and how to tie that into their existing projects with existing staff.
  • Many IT Managers are planning to define objectives that will maximize their bottom line, yet the road to such objectives is clouded by unfamiliarity with the overall process and system level thinking.
  • Many IT Managers struggle to understand the cost, implementation complexity, data visualization presence for entire CLM process.
  • How many devices deployed using 802.1x.
  • How many of them are wired, how many of them are wireless.
  • How many of them are incompatible with 802.1x due to some patching version or other reasons.
  • What is the plan with such type of devices that don’t have the cert capabilities are not 802.1x compatible.
  • How devices like that can be secured?
  • Should they be isolated?  Should they be upgraded?  Should they be integrated visualized based on their behavioral  characteristics & tracked for anomalies?
  • Should they be blocked or allowed, but only for certain types of users and applications?
  • What is the process of allowing only one set of AD users to such type of non cert compatible node/application?
  • How is this process done?
  • What is the way to isolate the device that does let’s say have anomalous behavior?
  • Should such device be isolated from some nodes, allowed to others, and to the internet or maybe not?
  • Should it be placed into isolated VLAN and alert generated sent to your staff? Yes, maybe no?
  • If device has other methods beyond certificate, perhaps that option should be explored?  Maybe placing the device into Zero Trust type of architecture?
  • What happens if the device is indeed vulnerable, and needs to be cut off from other devices, but only needs to be accessible by some let’s say accounting users once every 7 years…
  • How do you deal with that?
  • Can your NAC appliance and the exiting traditional set of in house skills within your team handle all these use cases?
  • Does your team have machine learning expertise to define custom signatures for custom apps?
  • Does your team have IT Generalist based skill sets to take your project to the next level?
  • Does your team have off shore automation expertise across multiple languages to create custom based integrations and automations across entire CLM process and PKI and thousands of endpoint devices?
  • Or perhaps you rely on a single vendor who offers your how to do 802.1x security, but does not exactly guide you for what is needed, how, where and why?

Our Solution

  • Whatever the case maybe…. you are not in this journey alone.
  • Our company specializes specifically in the field of Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Cyber Security, Data Automation, and CLM PKI management in cloud and on premise across different clouds Google, Azure, Amazon, as well as complete roll out of 802.1x security for your organization, definition of entire road-map. 
  • Off-shore presence globally to help you save costs on automation across all of your endpoint systems and applications.  We also have on-shore local resources to help with project management and guiding the whole process.
  • Not only can we help your company solve many of the problems listed above with our customized CLM and PKI service for your industry, but we can literally help you integrate your very own 802.1x vendor that you perhaps already heavily invested into, whether it’s Cisco ISE, ForeScout or others or alternatively to help you save money, role out our very own NAC solution based on open source tools, and best practices, helping you save money on expensive license costs.
  • Plus the best part about working with us is the fact that you don’t have to worry about asking your traditional network engineers whether or not they know Python to automate CLM process.
  • We can help you automate CLM process, regardless of what type of PKI you are currently running.
  • We have expertise in Puppet, Cheff, Ansible, Nornir, Terraform, & and other automation tools including our very own in house built Alpha FusionCLM tool, as well as other  languages allowing us to easily interact with many of your devices and applications in your on premise and cloud network, renew certificates, track your entire CLM progress state, alert your staff through ServiceNow, PagerDuty, or SumoLogic, Splunk, Slack or any other way.
  • Without Alpha FusionCLM tool we can integrate with your existing CMDB systems such as Device42, ServiceNow and Jira ticketing system, automatically create tickets for your staff and our very own Level 1 and Level 2 support staff augmenting your staff, in the event certificate didn’t renew or other technical reasons.
  • Plus we have customized Zero Trust Security expertise and isolated node management expertise, helping your organization keep track of your nodes. and ensure that such nodes are communicating in a secure fashion.
  • In combination of NAC deployment/integration expertise, we have a team of data scientists, and data analytics experts that can integrate your system with custom built signatures for your applications and nodes, maximizing your security posture.
  • All that while helping you maintain your Asset Node Management, while providing you with Data Analytics expertise in deciphering your existing application landscape, integrating multiple data lakes and data sources into your existing SIEM systems, while providing you with the single pane of glass visualization from our very own Alpha FusionView tool, helping you track not only certificate lifecycle management process, but the behavior of your employee’s working effectiveness when they work from home vs remote , and their overall digital health score, in relationship to the applications they are trying to access.
  • Our Alpha FusionView and Alpha FusionCLM are separate tools, designed to augment your existing staff, maximize intelligence, and create value, specifically for your organization.
  • Extracting such value from our company and augmenting your existing traditional network engineering staff, can first of all help you save money on data ingestion costs from other data analytic tools, and second of all it can help you understand your road map, secure environment and graduate your mindset to the IT Generalist level and hopefully get that promotion.
  • Contact us today, to help us customize solution for you, sit down with you and prepare your road map and get you started on your Digital Transformation Journey starting with the CLM based management.

What We Offer

PKI Professional Services

DBA Binary Fusion delivers the expertise you need to ensure your PKI environment not only meets your needs today, but is properly designed
for your needs down the road.

Co-Managed PKI Services

We keep close watch over your PKI to ensure that everything is operating efficiently and securely, so you don't have anything to worry about.

PKI Assessment Online or Onsite

After you have deployed the PKI, Our online or onsite PKI Assessment provides you with the knowledge and assurance that it was done right.

Enterprise PKI Support Services

We approach PKI support differently than the competitors. We can work with Mobile, and IoT devices, helping you secure your environment based on the Certificate Lifecycle Management Best Practices. 

OUR PROCESS

Contact us

Take the first step, contact our consultant to get a quotation and further assistance.

Get consultation

Our manager will process your application and arrange a meeting to discuss the details.

Prepare documents

Prepare all the necessary documents and send them for verification.

Get insurance

Get your insurance and stop worrying about your future, protect yourself and your family.

CLM Stages that DBA Binary Fusion can help your organization tackle

Discovery
  • Devices that have invalid certs are no certs can be difficult to discover. The Discovery process depends on the types of devices, protocols, API programmability, and other characteristics.
Enrollment
  • Credentials and other inputs are gathered to enroll the certificate. For example, certificate signing requests with Common names and identification of service together with authorization details are gathered.
Issuance
  • Certificate enrolment data is validated, and a certificate is issued. The certificate is stored in a database and provided to the end entity which provided the initial enrolment.
Expiration
  • The certificate approached the end of its validity period. An expired certificate will no longer be valid and trusted, therefore the end entity should be aware of it and decide to either renew or decommission.
Destruction
  • After the expiration and validity period, the private key and certificate are no longer needed. The private key is securely destroyed, and the certificate is decommissioned from the public key infrastructure.

What DBA Binary Fusion can do for your organization?

Discovery of Assets
  • Discover and visualize your assets by subnet, &or app level through manual, or existing CMDB and AD integration.
Centralized Ownership
  • Define ownership for certificate and keys.
  • Enforce Access control
  • Audit Tracking
 Process and Policy
  • Remove reliance on personal knowledge to handle PKI.
  • Enforce policy across for all stakeholders
Endpoint Deployment
  • Streamline certificate push to endpoints.
  • For ex: F5 Load Balancers, Servers, VCs, Printers.
Certificate Operations
    • Grouping and expiry reminders
    • Inventory Certs
    • Visibility via monitoring
    • Renewal Automation
    • Certificate Key Generation.
    • CA Automation

WE ARE

DBA BINARY FUSION

HOW TO CONTACT US ?

If interested to see some additional use cases or would like to get a similar solution implemented in your organization then don't hesitate to reach out to info@networkconsultant.net  and one of our IT consultants will get back to you.  You can also contact us by the phone number on the top right corner or send us a chat message. 

PKI and CLM Solutions for Enterprise Companies