Machine identities are used by nearly all technology solutions that are deployed across a network and security infrastructure. Enterprises need to be prepared to integrate and orchestrate machine identities across IT systems. Here are five tips on how to integrate.
Operating systems and applications
Enterprises rely on a broad range of operating systems (AIX, Red Hat, Solaris, Windows, and so on) and applications (Apache, Web- Sphere, IIS, and more) for their mission-critical operations. Each of these systems and applications has a machine identity that plays a fundamental role in the security of communications to and from these systems.
Automating access to machine identities helps preserve the uptime and security of these important systems, and it’s the most efficient way to encrypt both internal and external traffic.
DevOps frameworks and containers
DevOps platforms require the rapid creation and provisioning of machine identities to ensure secure computing and application deployment. If you automate the delivery and monitoring of machine identities in development environments, you can increase security while supporting the deployment of new servers, applications, and containers at machine speed.
Integrating TLS machine identity management with popular DevOps tools, such as Kubernetes and Ansible, as well as core technologies like service meshes and containerization, gives you centralized management, policy enforcement, and visibility of DevOps machine identities.
Because load balancers frontend so many applications, they also host a large number of machine identities that represent each backend application. Due to the critical nature of the services load balancers handle and the scale of machine identities they host — sometimes more than 1,000 machine identities per load balancer — you can’t easily collect intelligence or manage the life cycle of these machine identities without automation.
TLS inspection devices provide critical visibility into TLS data streams. To do this, they must have access to the private keys for the thousands of systems on which they’re monitoring traffic. To support TLS inspection at this scale, you need the ability to automatically and securely transfer and install private keys on TLS inspection devices.
Hardware Security Modules (HSMs)
Most private keys are stored in files on the systems they secure. This makes them susceptible to compromise. To prevent these risks, you can use HSM solutions to generate, store, and access keys within the safe confines of a security-hardened appliance. Using HSMs also helps you simplify compliance because auditors understand their security benefits. However, adding HSMs can also increase management complexity because they add a layer between your systems and your private keys. You can avoid this complexity by integrating machine identity automation into your HSM processes.
Businesses spend billions of dollars each year on identity and access management (IAM), but almost all this money is spent on managing the digital identities — usernames and passwords — of humans. On the other hand, businesses spend almost nothing on managing machine identities, even though the entire digital economy hinges on secure communications between machines. As businesses transform their operations to be primarily digital — called digital transformation — the need for secure machine identities has become even more critical.
Want to learn more about these integrations? Check out the Venafi Ecosystem!
(This blog has been updated. It was originally posted by Scott Carter on September 10, 2019.)