How to Build Your Own Public Key Infrastructure?

, How to Build Your Own Public Key Infrastructure?


As organizations move their activities and operations to the cloud, there is a need to enforce advanced security measures to protect data shared and stored. The security measures are also critical to control system access, document access, and email verification.

At the heart of these security measures is public key infrastructure, which issues certificates needed for access, verification, and authentication. Currently, most companies prefer to rely on outsourcing PKIS; however, you can easily customize one for in-house needs.

The in-house PKI is ideal for meeting all the organization’s security needs and functions. Instead of customizing the standard PKI, you can customize and build one based on the organization’s features and security challenges. To do so, you need expert help; however, with the right guidelines and some IT skills, you can accomplish all these without much effort.

You also need the necessary tools like PKIaaS to help with other needs like certificate generation, streamlining certificate policies, etc. If you are wondering how to begin, here is something to help.

1. Creating the Key Certificate Authorities

The first measure to create the best PKI is to create a certificate authority that is ideal for generating, distributing, and authenticating keys securely. CA’s main role is to issue digital certificates needed for a website and other entities.

The main role is to validate website domains, ensuring communication is secure enough to keep away all the potential attacks. As a preventive measure, it can also warn you whenever you are visiting risky sites not yet verified by the CA. This explains why you commonly see the signs’ not secure’ warning you of the potential risks of visiting a site.

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Besides protecting the communication networks, it is essential to protect the sites and other company virtual functions. With a reputable CA, you can easily generate the TLS certificate and other certificates ideal for validating business sites and other functions. Ensure you create all the key CAs, including domain-validated certificates, extended-validation certificates, and organizational-validated certificates.

Once you have a reputable CA, you can easily authenticate other online activities since the existing CA can be used for various duties like email, device, documents, and client or user authentication. Therefore, you need it for virtual and e-commerce services.

To create the CA effectively, you can rely on the PKI as a service, which makes it easier to generate and add certificate authority quickly as the organizational functions increase. With the PKI management systems, you can create different types of CAs, mainly the local types needed for in-house functions. For further security measures, you can also create third-party CA using PKIaaS.

The next process is to determine the key size and select the ideal signature algorithm and validity period.

2. Protect the primary Key

Once you create a CA, the main focus should be on protecting the primary Key, which is essential to keep all browser and system details private. Therefore, you should enforce various primary key protection strategies using services like Hardware Security Module as a service (HSMaaS). For on-premise systems and CAs, you can use the on-premise HSMs. HSMaas is ideal for physical security and tamper protection against any physical adversities.

It can also be essential to protect shared keys and certificates needed for authentication, access security, document validation, and email verification. Other security measures you need are encryption measures to encrypt a key and limit the decryption authority to you and other users with the decryption permission.

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Encryption also gives you the capability to stop or authorize the usage of private keys. If you have primary keys generated from other programs or machines running CFSSL, you need plaintext security measures. However, it is one of the weakest protection measures and should not be used unless you need a compromise between HSM and encryption.

3. Enrolment Policies

After creating a CA and enforcing primary protection measures, you should enforce key software policies that will help the software and organizational systems determine which CA to use. You can customize these policies in the configuration file signing policy section. The policies should also apply to other activities like certificate issuance and validity monitoring.

Specify the user and device policies, which can also enforce who accesses the system and devices with access authority. Finally, for extra security measures, you can also set the parameters for the certificate and key usage. With effective policies, all the authentication keys will be generated automatically and protected through network privacy security.

4. Create the CA Templets

A template is necessary for future needs when you may need to generate additional CAs for changing organizational needs. Therefore, you need different types of templates like users, client, financial, document, device, and employee verification CAs.

While creating the templates, rely on the Zero Trust Philosophy to secure the templates. This is essential to prevent anyone from accessing these templates to create a key and use them for malicious reasons.

5. Installing the Certificates

You must install the CA into the company system or the browser to ensure the browser or the OS can accept them. There are different protocols for installing the CA into various OS, and you must have all the relevant key chains needed for installation. Every browser has its certificate configuration to make the CA effective. Only install them in a few browsers known for high-security measures. Ensure the browser is trustable to avoid corrupting and compromising keys shared in the browser.

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For an effective PKI, first, create all the needed certificate authority using a management system and tools like PKIaaS. Next, ensure the CAs and primary keys are protected with the most effective measures like encryption and HSM.

Finally, create a template for creating future CAs and ensure it is safe to avoid misuse by unauthorized users.

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