Customer Data Protection: Securing Trust with Automated Certificate Management

Digital trust is essential for business growth in the modern economy. A major data breach can cause irreparable brand damage and erode consumer trust. And the easiest way to invite this catastrophe to your organization is through poor management of security certificates.

This blog post will explain and explore the beneficial impact an automated certificate management system can have on your data protection endeavors in 2023.

The Rising Threat (and Cost) of Data Breaches in 2023

According to PwC surveys, one in four companies across the globe has suffered significant data breaches since 2019. IBM data indicate that the global average cost of a data breach has increased by 15% in the last three years and currently stands at around $4.45 million.

That particular figure does not factor in the long-term damage caused by the loss of consumer trust. A major data breach could cost your business as much as 40% of your total consumers, according to McKinsey. In the B2B segment, the risk of customer attrition is even higher at 52%.

The regulatory burden on businesses is also increasing. The European Union led the way in 2018 with the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The US is starting to catch up on data privacy laws with statutes like the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA).  

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The implications are quite clear – if you want to run any kind of business with a significant online presence in 2023 and beyond, customer data protection must rank high on your list of priorities.

Why the Spotlight on Digital Security Certificates?

Cybersecurity is like a game of whack-a-mole – professionals are constantly plugging vulnerabilities while new ones keep popping up. While software vulnerabilities can be patched, one vulnerability is quite persistent – the risk of expired digital certificates in public key infrastructure (PKI).

Due to the rising use of mobile devices and remote work, digital certificates have exploded in the last five to six years. Even a smaller enterprise with less than 30 employees may routinely require the maintenance and management of hundreds of unique security certificates, including both internal ones as well as those issued by cloud service providers like AWS, GCP, and Microsoft ADCS.

This scenario creates unique challenges for an IT certificate manager that can only be adequately addressed by relying on automation:

The Risk Posed by Expired Security Certificates

Some of the worst data breaches in history were caused by the target organization’s failure to replace or revoke expired certificates. An expired certificate can blunt your organization’s network security in several ways:

  • Creating insecure and unencrypted communication channels
  • Enabling unauthorized access to threat actors through man-in-the-middle attacks
  • Failed software updates and patches lead to further vulnerabilities

Limitations of Manual Tracking and Custom Scripts

Manual tracking stopped being an option for security certificate management a long time ago. Many organizations switched to custom/home-brew scripts for automation. However, such programs are often siloed, with limited features and a lack of 360-degree visibility and advanced tracking.

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Worse still, custom tools are challenging to maintain, especially if a single individual handles the duties. If the individual developer leaves your organization, your trusted certificate manager may be left with a tool that is hard to maintain or use.

The Importance of an Automated Certificate Management System

Automation provides all the solutions you need to adequately address the myriad issues surrounding the management of security certificates. And with an exemplary certificate manager, you don’t get a single tool, but an entire platform for all your security certificate lifecycle management needs.

Whether it is obtaining a valid SSL certificate, tracking all your certificates’ expiry dates, or securing your employees against phishing attacks through automated email encryption, a certificate manager platform has all the AI automation tools in one place.