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Why Financial Service Companies Are Turning to Cloud PKI

Cybersecurity Moves to the Cloud

The financial services industry has been slow to embrace cloud technologies. Yet the benefits are growing too attractive to ignore — especially when it comes to Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), the gold standard for securing information across networks.

PKI enables companies to securely authenticate and authorize users, servers, applications and devices as well as robustly encrypt all data and communication between them. The technology is already deployed in most enterprise IT infrastructures, but the complexity of issuing, managing and renewing PKI certificates is daunting, even for organizations with large IT teams.

Cloud-based PKI-as-a-Service (PKIaaS) solutions — hosted in the cloud, managed by external vendors and delivered through a SaaS portal — remove these complexities, streamlining management and making pricing both simple and predictable.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the benefits of cloud PKI and explain how the solution fits into the broader financial services security landscape.

The Benefits of Cloud PKI

Global organizations manage an average of nearly 60,000 different PKI certificates, according to the Ponemon Institute. PKIaaS enables executives to outsource this complex yet critical task. Best-in-class cloud PKI systems also streamline security workflows by providing a single, intuitive interface that provides real-time visibility into the status of all certificates.

Other benefits include:

  • Speed — Cloud PKI can be integrated into existing security systems within a matter of days
  • Agility — Institutions can add capacity and expand use cases without major infrastructure investments or concerns about broader system stability
  • Security — Managed PKIaaS vendors deliver best-in-class security practices without the headache of having to adapt to an ever-evolving threat landscape
  • Compliance — PKIaaS complies with regulations like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), ISO 27001 and the System and Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2). What’s more, moving PKI to the cloud also streamlines the audit process. Experienced PKIaaS vendors participate in dozens of audits per year and can fit seamlessly into clients’ audit cycles.

PKIaaS also supports Zero Trust environments by securing authentication and communications between machines, devices, IoT and virtual servers.

Get the Cloud That Gives You Control

Organizations in highly regulated industries like financial services must be careful when outsourcing any aspect of their security infrastructure, and PKI is no exception.

That’s why most institutions are turning to so-called hybrid cloud infrastructure, where PKI management services are hosted in the cloud, yet private root keys are stored offline — ideally in a disaster-proof data center.

It’s the approach HID delivered when a $1B North American credit union opted to encrypt all data flowing into and within its network using PKI. Our PKIaaS solution enables the organization to host and maintain its private keys on premise, while relying on a secure, cloud-based management portal for visibility into the status of all keys and certificates.

And it’s the approach that, in the words of Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst Swetha R. Krishnamoorthi, “helps organizations build trust among end consumers and within its internal networks without enduring operational complexity or higher overall cost.”

In an industry that experiences one of the highest rates of security incidents and breaches, trust has never been more essential.

Cloud PKI boosts agility and helps institutions respond to changing markets. To learn more, read our eBook, Cloud PKI Delivers Security at Scale. Here’s How >>

Mrugesh Chandarana is Product Management Director for Identity and Access Management Solutions at HID Global, where he focuses on IoT and PKI solutions. He has more than ten years of cybersecurity industry experience in areas such as risk management, threat and vulnerability management, application security and PKI. He has held product management positions at RiskSense, WhiteHat Security (acquired by NTT Security), and RiskVision (acquired by Resolver, Inc.).