Corporate Blog

A certificate authority is a type of computerized system which is used to create digital certificates. There are different methods you can use to create your own digital certificates. You could choose to use a managed service, software or a shared service. Each option provides organizations of all sizes the ability to be able to create and distribute their own certificates.

Differences between Certificate Authority System Options

It is important to properly manage and control your private and public keys when using public key infrastructure (PKI). You will want to make sure private keys are only distributed to a single person or kept internal on your server. Private keys should never be shared with multiple users as they are the component used to verify the authenticity of data types using the matching public key. Public keys are designed to be distributed and shared with multiple users.

You Can Retract Certificates through a PKI Connection

A digital certificate can be used for a variety of electronic data solutions. For instance, you are able to use this type of certificate for two factor authentication. The certificate will contain the required data needed to authenticate with your secure resources. Certificates are created for every user within your organization and designed to control access to your resources. Access is denied anytime the data in the certificate does not pass authentication for a resource.

A Digital Signature is another Type of Digital Certificate

Creating digital certificates follows a standardized format known as X509. This standard was created to help organizations maintain consistency between their certificates. A secondary purpose of the standardization was to enable organizations the ability to share certificates with other businesses and people in order to gain access to secure resources. For example, a bank will share digital certificates with their customers in order to create a secure connection for online banking.

X509 Standards are incorporated into a Certificate Authority System

More and more organizations are moving their data online and into cloud computing environments. Cloud computing allows global companies the ability to share data between locations and collaborate on projects. For example, if a company has locations spread all throughout the world it is feasibly possible for a project to be worked on continuously, twenty-four hours a day, every business day. In order to protect against unauthorized access in cloud environments, businesses should use two factor authentication in place of single sign on methods.

When you are looking for an electronic method which is used to authenticate electronic transactions, you will want to use a digital signature solution. Unlike an electronic signature that can be altered and changed, a digital one is encrypted once the user attached their signature to the electronic data. People, who receive a copy of the electronic data, need to have a digital certificate with a matching public key in order to authenticate and open the data.

Two Digital Certificates are created for Every Digital Signature

Two factor authentication, or 2FA, can be used with any type of system where users must enter a user name and password. You can use this authentication method in-house whenever an employee logs into their computer and connects to your network. You can also add additional layers of security with this authentication process. For example, you can require users to provide the correct two factor authentication certificate when they want to access online applications or network storage locations.

You Can Create and Distribute Multiple 2FA Certificates

Every time you create a new digital certificate using your certification authority system you should use a request file. A request file will contain information about what type of key pair is to be assigned to your new X509 certificate. The certificate can contain either a private key or a public key. A certificate containing a private key is for a single user and is never to be shared with multiple users. A public key is a cryptic match to the private key and is used by multiple users who need to share encrypted information with the private key holder.

When your employees access the internet using single sign on authentication they are not required to enter in a user name or password. This is because the same user name and password used to log into the computer is stored and retained for authentication with all of their other resources and applications. The issue with using a single user name and password is it lacks security. Anyone can open the employee’s internet browser and access websites and other online applications, as long as the computer is signed onto your network.

The roof of a certificate contains encrypted data used for authentication purposes. This data is loaded into the digital certificate when it is created by your certificate authority (CA) system. The root also contains details about the location of the CA system it will connect with to perform authentication and verify the certificate can be trusted. Trust is established between the digital certificate and CA system whenever the authentication procedures stored in the root run.

A Root Certificate is found in All Types of Digital Certificates