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Giving the Internet an Identity: How to Manage Digital Identities

If your organization is managing a significant volume of digital certificates (over 100), and expects continued rapid growth, your security team should consider an automated certificate lifecycle management solution.

When facing the responsibility to ensure the health, validity, and expiration dates of a large number of digital certificates, using an Excel spreadsheet is not a scalable or smart option. Letting just one certificate expire can be catastrophic. Having access to a solution that catalogs and monitors each certificate, alerts your team of expirations or issues, and assists in automating the re-issuance of revocation of certificates for the given data, device or application adds a layer of assurance to your security posture as well as satisfies an audit/compliance requirement.


Digital identity management (DIM) is a critical component to:

  • Understanding potential security threats.
  • Being able to monitor your system, data, devices, applications and users to understand if a vulnerability has occurred.
  • Understand how a vulnerability, breach or outage occurred and how to address it.

DIM enables your IT team to mitigaterisk of a malicious attack on your data, devices,applications and transactions. The most effective way to manage digital identities is dependent upon the method used for authentication:

  • Username/Password. DIM typically comes down to setting up and managing complex usernames and passwords and determining ways to identify if a username and password has been compromised.
  • Digital Certificates. Depending on their use case, digital certificates can be purchased from a third-party certificate authority which enable public trust but can be expensive, or issued from an in-house certificate authority.

When assessing the proper course of action for tackling digital identity management, keep the following key considerations in mind:

  • Understand your organization’s use case (enterprise VPN access vs. IoT device identification)
  • Review your options for the level of security that needs to be in place.

Security needs are commonly based on audit requirements/industry regulations, organizational risk aversion, or proactive security practices. Choose your level of authentication based on these items, as well as cost and efficiency.

Choose a reliable, quality system to manage all of your digital identities.

If your organization is managing over 100 digital certificates, it is critical to implement an automated certificate lifecycle management solution with the following capabilities: cataloging, monitoring, alerts for expirations or problems, and enablement of re-issuance/revocation automation.

Regardless of your security team’s methodology for managing digital certificates, partnering with a knowledgeable ally who can assess your security posture and make appropriate recommendations for the ideal solution is always an advisable first step.