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Migrating to Microsoft Azure? Why a Modern PKI is Critical to Success

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Plus, a look at how to make it happen with Keyfactor EJBCA

The cloud is no longer something organizations are just talking about.

According to a recent HashiCorp study, 76% of organizations now employ a multi-cloud architecture, and that number will jump to 90% in the next two years.

It’s no surprise: The cloud delivers clear benefits around efficiency, automation, and scale to meet new business needs. But for all these benefits, operating in a cloud environment is not without its challenges – particularly when it comes to public key infrastructure (PKI). Fortunately, these challenges don’t need to be a roadblock to migrating to a cloud environment. With the right approach, any organization can take advantage of the benefits of the cloud without concern.

Cloudy skies ahead: Cloud migration challenges for identity and security teams

A cloud migration is complex in any situation. And identity and security teams, in particular, face several challenges during the transition from traditional data centers to cloud infrastructure

These challenges center around significant increases in:

  • Identities, particularly machine identities
  • Velocity of certificate issuance, deployment, and revocation
  • Number of Certificate Authority (CA) and PKI technologies used by different teams

All of this matters because PKI becomes even more important in the cloud as a way to establish digital trust and securely connect workloads at scale. Consider the case of Microsoft Azure, which has become a staple for hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure in many organizations.

Opportunity

Migrating to Microsoft Azure unlocks incredible efficiency by introducing a new way for teams to manage workloads, the number of which inevitably explodes.

Challenge

The explosion in workloads creates thousands of new connections that must be authenticated, encrypted, and authorized using unique and trusted identities.

Solution

Reaping the benefits of Microsoft Azure without sacrificing security requires a holistic approach to cloud migration, including a focus on PKI and certificate services.

A storm is brewing: The risks of outdated PKI

One of the most critical roadblocks that can cause challenges during and after a cloud migration is continuing to rely on legacy PKI technology designed for an on-premise environment.

Most often, this happens with Microsoft Active Directory Certificate Services (ADCS), aka Microsoft CA, which powers PKI in many traditional IT environments. However, it can’t provide sufficient support for a cloud environment.

Beyond not being natively supported by cloud environments like Microsoft Azure, Microsoft CA doesn’t integrate with modern tools and platforms. Additionally, it only allows one CA to be installed per server, which gets costly and complex fast in the highly scalable cloud environment.

Brighter skies ahead: Modernizing PKI with EJBCA for Azure

A modern PKI infrastructure not only solves the challenges created by outdated legacy solutions like Microsoft CA, but it also allows organizations to take full advantage of the efficiency, automation and scalability benefits of the cloud.

One of the most powerful and flexible PKI solutions is Keyfactor’s EJBCA, which supports issuing and provisioning certificates at scale and integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Azure (it’s even deployable directly from the Azure cloud marketplace).

Some of the most notable benefits of EJBCA for Microsoft Azure include:

  • Integration with Microsoft and Azure-native platforms
  • Support for all certificate use cases and certificate formats in one platform
  • Ability to host multiple CA and PKI infrastructures in a single installation
  • Built-in HSM support for enterprise-grade security and compliance
  • Flexible deployment options (hosted or managed service or Infrastructure as a Service)
  • Comprehensive certificate lifecycle automation with the addition of Keyfactor Command

Cloud environments demand a modern PKI: Start here

For most organizations, a move to the cloud is inevitable – if it’s not already underway. And this is a good thing, as cloud environments offer numerous benefits that companies can’t afford to miss out on. But it’s not without its challenges, especially when it comes to identity and security.

Quite simply, cloud environments demand a modern PKI, and every organization’s identity and security teams must be prepared to evaluate these requirements in detail as part of any larger cloud migration.

So what exactly does that evaluation entail? For a deeper look at how to effectively support PKI in the cloud, download our guide: Migrating to Microsoft Azure with a Modern PKI.

Ryan Sanders

Senior Product Marketing Manager

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