With the growth and advancement of ultra-modernist technology, organizations, and individual businesses increasingly rely on Public critical infrastructure (PKI) to manage security through encryption (defined as protecting data from unauthorized access). The encryption is done in two ways, private and public keys, separated by the user.
The typical form of encryption used today involves a public key. Anyone can use the public key to secure a message. On the other hand, the private key (also known as a secret key) should be used by only one person to decrypt those messages. People, devices, and applications can use these keys.
Apart from encryption, PKI is used to issue certificates that enable authentication (proving your identity to a website or other entity) and digital signatures ( which have to do with verifying the authenticity of a message or document) for multiple use cases.
Multiple open-source PKI software tools are available today, and you should know and understand them well to decide which one to partner with. To get the best PKI solution online, you should try EJBCA Community Edition, a Java-based PKI solution offering enterprise and community editions.
Developed by PrimeKey—which is now a part of Keyfactor—EJBCA remains the most widely trusted and adopted solution for open-source PKI CA today. Other highly ranked solutions include Dogtag Certificate System, OpenXPKI, and Step-ca.
Why Should Partners Consider PKI Solutions?
1. Easy To Fix And Use
Most PKI solutions are easy to deploy and use. They are readily available for download making them easy to deploy in a quick and secure manner. Most PKI solutions also offer a web-based Graphical User Interface (GUI) for the centralized administration of Certificate Authorities and policies.
Apart from their ready availability for free download, most PKI solutions are endowed with all the integral features needed for certificate issuance and management, including multiple certificate enrolment methods and a representational state transfer API as an additional distinctive feature.
2. Public Key Infrastructure Solutions Are Extensible
Most PKI solutions are extremely versatile and can be easily extended to meet your specific, tailor-made needs. This means you can enjoy creativity with them to find something exclusively unique. They may support pre-built plugins with other open-source tools such as HashiCorp Vault, and multiple protocols, including Simple Certificate Enrolment Protocol (SCEP), Certificate management protocol (CMP), and representational state transfer (REST) application programming interface (API) protocols.
SCEP is a specialized protocol with a smaller scope; it concentrates on enrolment and CRL obtention. SCEP is used to authenticate connections to your applications and commercial resources. It uses the Certification Authority (CA) instrument to secure the message swap for the Certificate Signing Request (CSR).
CMP is an internet protocol employed to manage X. 509 digital certificates within a PKI.
3. Complete PKI Solution
Most public key infrastructures provide a complete PKI solution that includes everything you need to get started and run your project to the end. They support Certificate Authority, Registration Authority, and Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) which is an Internet protocol used for acquiring the revocation status of an X.509 digital certificate. They also stand out because they can easily be scaled to meet even the most demanding transaction assignments for certificate issuance and validation.
All PKI solutions have unique core capabilities that make them ranked differently. You don’t just rank them simply in bias or value judgments. For instance, The Core capabilities of EJBCA Community Edition include the following:
- X.509 and Secure Shell (SSH) certificate issuance and lifecycle management
- A certificate authority (CA), registration authority (RA), and OCSP functionality
- Extensibility via Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP), Certificate management protocol (CMP), and representational state transfer (REST) application programming interface (API) protocols.
- Audit logging to the database
- Fundamental HSM anchorage by Java PKCS#11
Every PKI solution has its unique core capabilities. You can easily choose a PKI solution by checking its core capabilities; thus, you can settle on one that suits your particular needs.
4. Comprehensive Documentation
PKI solutions are supported by robust documentation that makes them easier for anyone, including the less sophisticated users, to understand. Such documentation is meant to help through the process and includes how-to guides, tutorial videos, troubleshooting guides, etc. With all these, the end-users can get up, run quickly and get the most out of their PKI.
5. Path To Enterprise
One key feature of Public key infrastructure solutions is their scalability. for instance, EJBCA offers an easy path to upgrade from the community edition to its most advanced version, the enterprise edition. You can also scale from an on-site to a cloud-based PKI solution, where the entire PKI is hosted on the provider’s servers, and PKI is provided as a service to customers on demand.
Deploying a Public key infrastructure solution is critical if you want to come out with certificates that enable authentication, encryption, and digital signatures for multiple use cases. While the online space is clouded with multiple solutions, you should have sufficient mechanisms to choose the best solution from the many that compete for our attention. This article introduces you to some available solutions and helps you know why you should consider using PKI solutions.