May 3, 2023

Managed PKI: The Security Solution for the Internet of Things

The Security Solution for the Internet of Things

Managed PKI Solutions: The Benefits of Outsourcing Your PKI

As organizations continue to digitise and rely more on online platforms, securing communication and protecting sensitive data become essential. One of the critical solutions used to achieve this is Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

Although many businesses use PKI to keep internal communications and protect their data, managing the complex infrastructure can be both costly and time-consuming, leading to increased risks of security breaches and compliance issues. That’s why more companies prefer to outsource PKI management to third-party vendors, gaining the numerous benefits that come with Managed PKI Solutions.

Understanding PKI and Its Importance

A Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is a digital security framework that manages the creation, distribution, and verification of digital certificates. These certificates include public and private cryptographic keys that enable secure and trustworthy communication between different endpoints, such as servers, clients, and IoT devices. Essentially, PKI provides the foundation for secure encryption and authentication protocols like SSL/TLS, digital signatures, and code signing.

PKI has become increasingly important in the modern digital landscape, where cyber-attacks and data breaches are becoming more frequent and sophisticated. The use of PKI helps organizations safeguard digital identities, secure email communications, encrypt data used, protect confidential data, and meet regulatory compliance requirements.

What is Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)?

PKI refers to a set of hardware, software, and protocols that establish a trusted network of Certificate Authorities (CAs) responsible for issuing digital certificates. PKI can support multiple levels of certificates, including Root, Intermediate, and End User certificates. When a user visits a website protected by PKI, their browser will receive a certificate issued by a trusted CA that verifies the website’s identity and encrypts the communication.

PKI is a complex system that requires specialised technical expertise to manage effectively. The process of creating and managing a PKI certification authority involves handling sensitive cryptographic keys, which requires a high level of security and attention to detail.

The Role of PKI in Cybersecurity

Managed PKI solutions are critical to the cybersecurity efforts of businesses and organizations. These solutions allow businesses to establish and maintain strong cryptographic keys, ensure end-to-end encryption, and maintain trust in their digital transactions. PKI helps organizations safeguard digital identities, secure email communications, protect confidential data, and meet regulatory compliance requirements.

PKI is also an important tool for securing Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which are becoming increasingly common in both consumer and industrial settings. PKI can help ensure that IoT devices are securely connected to the network and that data transmitted between devices is encrypted and authenticated.

Challenges of In-House PKI Management

While PKI offers numerous security benefits, managing a complex PKI infrastructure requires a significant investment of time, money, and expertise. Creating and managing a PKI certification authority is a highly specialised and technically demanding task that involves handling sensitive cryptographic keys. Unless an organisation has a dedicated team of IT security experts, managing PKI in-house can be challenging and prone to errors. Failed certificate renewals, lost keys, and expired certificates are all costly mistakes that put the organisation at considerable risk.

For these reasons, many organizations choose to outsource their PKI management to a trusted third-party provider. These providers have the expertise and resources necessary to manage complex PKI infrastructures and can help organizations ensure that their digital transactions are secure and trustworthy.

The Advantages of Managed PKI Solutions

Managed PKI solutions offer businesses cost-effective, scalable, and secure ways of managing their digital certificates. By outsourcing their PKI certificate management system, to experienced third-party vendors, businesses can reduce their operational costs, free up resources, and improve their overall security posture. Here are some of the many advantages of opting for managed PKI solutions.

Cost Savings and Predictable Expenses

Managed PKI solutions eliminate the need for organizations to hire and maintain an in-house team of PKI experts. This reduces labour costs, recruitment expenses, and training costs. Additionally, outsourcing PKI management means businesses can pay for services based on their specific needs, making budgeting and expense management more predictable.

Access to Expertise and Best Practices

Managed PKI solution providers are experts in PKI operations, so they can ensure that organizations’ key management practices follow industry best practices and meet regulatory compliance requirements. These providers have a strong understanding of cryptographic, public keys, and encryption technologies and can implement best practices such as certificate enrolment policies, key length, and key strength management.

Improved Security and Compliance

Managed PKI solutions provide businesses with robust cryptographic private key and management, reducing the risk of key-related security breaches and operational errors. Managed PKI providers offer end-to-end encryption, which helps organizations protect data, authenticate users, and prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. There’s also the added assurance that all certificates meet regulatory and compliance requirements, including industry standards like CA/Browser Forum and ISO.

Scalability and Flexibility

Managed PKI services offer flexible and scalable solutions that can adapt to business needs. With Managed PKI solutions, organizations can request new certificates quickly and easily, make renewals and updates, and manage revocation, all without incurring any additional overhead costs. As organizations grow, managed service providers can provide additional support and resources without requiring any staffing or infrastructure changes.

Faster Deployment and Time-to-Market

Organizations that choose managed PKI solutions can leverage the provider’s expertise and infrastructure to deploy certificates quickly across their systems. This helps organizations reduce deployment time and speed up their time-to-market, improving their business’ overall agility and competitiveness.

Key Features of Managed PKI Services

Managed PKI services are designed to provide customers with ease of use, security, and compliance. The following key features highlight some of the benefits that businesses can expect when they outsource their PKI management.

Certificate Lifecycle Management

Managed PKI solutions support the entire certificate lifecycle, including certificate creation, registration authority issuance, and revocation, ensuring that organizations can track all certificates throughout their lifecycle. This helps organizations maintain compliance and eliminate the potential for untracked or unauthorised certificates.

Secure Key Storage and Recovery

The security of cryptographic keys is essential in PKI, and managed services providers take this responsibility seriously. Managed PKI solutions ensure that cryptographic keys are stored securely, using Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) and providing a range of other key management services to ensure the security of each client’s PKI deployment. Providers offer key backup and recovery services, ensuring that keys are resilient in case of hardware failures or disasters.

Customisable Certificate Policies

Managed PKI services offer customisable policies that organizations can tailor to their specific needs. This feature allows organizations to set their preferred encryption levels, authentication methods, and certificate revocation processes. This ensures that businesses can adapt to changing security needs or industry regulations quickly.

Integration with Existing Systems

Managed PKI solutions are designed to integrate seamlessly with existing systems and infrastructure, enabling organizations to leverage the benefits of PKI without disrupting their existing operations. Providers can configure PKI services that integrate with Single Sign-On (SSO) systems, user directories, databases, and other critical business systems.

Comprehensive Reporting and Auditing

Managed PKI providers offer reports that help organizations to monitor the usage of their certificates. These reports include Certificate Revocation Lists (CRLs), Certificate Transparency (CT) logs, and certificate expiry reports, among others. This level of reporting and auditing gives businesses a complete picture of their PKI system and helps them make informed decisions about their certificate policy and security practices.


PKI certificates is a complex but vital technology for securing digital communication and protecting sensitive data. While it is an essential aspect of cybersecurity, managing PKI in-house can be a daunting and costly task. Managed PKI solutions offer business owners a more cost-effective, scalable, and secure way to manage their digital certificates. It is a valuable option for businesses that want to focus on their core competencies while gaining the benefits of robust PKI security. By outsourcing PKI management to experienced providers, businesses will gain predictable costs, access to expertise, regulatory compliance, and enhanced security posture.

Louise José