National Positions's blog

A digital certificate can be used for a variety of purposes within your organization. You will also discover certificates are provided by other companies, such as your computer manufacturer. You could use certificates for authentication methods like accessing your cloud environments or connecting through your VPN. You may also use certificates for digital signatures to ensure important data and documents are encrypted and are able to be authenticated.

Sometimes You Can Encounter an Untrusted Digital Certificate

Ensuring a document or other communication received electronically is authentic is important. You will want to know you can trust the information received and be able to verify it was actually sent by the appropriate person and not someone else. One way to accomplish electronic data authentication is to use a digital signatur. Once the signature has been attached it is encrypted and prevents data from being opened, altered or modified. Only recipients with a matching digital certificate containing a public key are able to open and verify the authenticity of the data.

In the past, organizations would have to circulate paper documents from one person to another to obtain the necessary signatures. This was rather time consuming, especially if someone was out of the office or the forms had to be mailed to a different location. As a result organizations looked for new ways and methods in order to cut down on the turnaround times while still being able to obtain the necessary signatures. One solution utilized is the use of electronic signature methods for documents and data requiring signature authority.

Anytime you create digital certificates using a certificate authority system it incorporates X509 standards. These standards are the basis for all types of digital certificates, whether they are used for digital signature, two factor authentication, or SSL. Your certificate authority system is programmed to ensure the information is place in the correct locations whenever a new certificate is created.

The Information Contained Using X509 Standards Is Influenced by the Type of Certificate

Some organizations decide to use single sign on authentication in order to take advantage of the benefits this method provides. Since users only have to remember one user name and password it helps reduce the number of help desk support calls about needing passwords and user names reset. It also helps increase productivity as users do not have to worry about reentering their user name and password each time they open a new application or connect to a new resource.

Be Aware of the Potential Security Issues When Using Single Sign on Authentication

Two factor authentication or 2FA is a specific type of authentication method used to increase security over a variety of connections. This kind of authentication can be used over the internet, with your VPN, for cloud environments, over your extranet, and over you network. When users lack the correct credentials for establishing a connection access is denied. As a result you are able to prevent unauthorized access to your company’s electronic resources and data.

You Have Several Options to Supply Users with Digital Certificates Required for 2FA

A root certificate is the most important part of all digital certificates. The root is responsible for validating and authenticating the certificates against your certificate authority (CA). Anytime you create a new digital certificate using your CA system it automatically creates the necessary root.

A Root Certificate Can Be Trusted Using Different Methods

You can make single sign on authentication more secure by enabling secure sockets layer (SSL). This security method helps to create safe connections when transmitting data over unsecured networks, such as the internet. You may also use SSL internally to ensure data transmitted over your intranet remains protected. SSL establishes a link between the user and server through encryption.

For Sensitive Corporate Data Use Two Factor Authentication in Place of Single Sign on Authentication

An X509 certificate is nothing more than a standardized digital certificate. X509 refers to the standards used to create all types of digital certificates in use today. These standards were developed to help make it easier for organizations to safely share data and information electronically. The standard also makes it possible for a single digital certificate to be used for multiple purposes, rather than having to issue a single certificate for each desired operation.

The X509 Certificate Standards Allow for Flexibility

PKI or public key infrastructure is the standard used with digital certificates in order to use digital signatures. Each user requiring a digital signature must be supplied with two digital certificates. One certificate contains the user’s private key and it is vital the user understands they should never share this certificate. The other certificate contains the user’s public key and is the certificate they will share and distribute to other people. Anytime the user electronically signs data it is encrypted with their private key.