6 Things You Need to Know About PKI

by Shaista Shaikh
6 Things You Need to Know About PKI

Today we’re going to be talking about public key infrastructure (PKI) and why it’s the way of the future for everything from your online banking to secure browser sessions.

I understand that this is a technology that is a bit complex and could be a little daunting for those who don’t know the first thing about it, so I’ll break it down as much as possible without getting too technical.

Here are six things that you need to know about PKI:

What is PKI?

PKI stands for public key infrastructure. It has a few benefits that make it very desirable when issuing secure certificates, including non-repudiation and verification of authenticity.

PKI is the process by which you can encrypt data with one party’s public key to ensure that only the recipient can decrypt it using their private key.

Why do I need to use PKI?

You don’t “need” to use PKI, but if you need to secure any type of connection or data transmission, it’s probably the best way to go about doing so.

How does it work?

A resource on the web is protected by a public key that requires encryption. The recipient of this encrypted resource is the only one who has access to a corresponding private key. It’s kind of like locking your house with a padlock, but giving out keys to everyone in the world – anyone can have a copy, but only you have the key that fits inside of it.

What are the benefits of using PKI?

There are a few, but one of the major benefits is that you cannot encrypt a resource using the public key from anyone other than the holder of the corresponding private key. This provides authenticity and non-repudiation since all parties know that only one person has access to this encryption/decryption process.

When should I stop using my current certificates and switch over to a new one?

If you’re using an inferior certificate, for example, SHA-1 or MD5, it’s time to upgrade. SSL certificates come in different flavors of encryption algorithms so Google recommends that you use the highest encryption algorithm possible.

What are some misconceptions about PKI that people might have?

One major misconception is that you need to be extremely tech-savvy to use PKI. That’s just not true. You can find free SSL certificates that are very easy to use and don’t require any extra libraries or code.

Other misconceptions include:

  • You can only use it for secure web traffic
  • It’s only good if the certificate has an expiration date (it doesn’t, but you can set one on your own)
  • You can only get a certificate from certain sites/providers

Conclusion

PKI is a great way to secure any resource on the web since it provides authenticity, non-repudiation, and encryption protection.

All businesses must have a PKI system in place or risk having compromised data and lack of trust from customers.

PKI will give business owners peace of mind knowing that their data is protected and secure at all times, so it’s a great investment.

For more information on PKI please visit Keyfactor.

I hope that you found this article to be helpful.

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